MILAVIA Forum - Military Aviation Discussion Forum

Author Topic: US aid mission in Philippines continues despite shooting of Navy helicopter  (Read 3607 times)

Offline tigershark

  • News Editor
  • General of Flight
  • *******
  • Posts: 2025
 US aid mission in Philippines continues despite shooting of Navy helicopter
 The Associated Press
Wednesday, June 11, 2008

MANILA, Philippines: A U.S. Navy hospital ship has not interrupted its humanitarian mission in the southern Philippines even though one of its helicopters was hit by gunfire, the American Embassy said Wednesday.

The USNS Mercy is still conducting the medical mission it began at Shariff Kabunsuan province's Parang Pier on May 28, with only one activity canceled as a result of Monday's shooting, an embassy statement said.

One of four MH-60 Knighthawk support helicopters operating from the ship sustained damage from what appeared to be gunfire while on a routine flight, resulting in the grounding of the aircraft and cancellation of one medical aid activity, the statement said.

Navy spokesman Cmdr. Jeff A. Davis said Monday the helicopter had gone to pick up 11 passengers about 50 miles (80 kilometers) inland, and two bullet holes were found when it returned.

There were no injuries, and the aircraft's commander was unaware the chopper had been hit, Davis said.

Nobody has claimed responsibility for the attack, but several armed groups operate in the area, including Muslim and communist rebels, private armies and criminal gangs.

Eid Kabalu, spokesman for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the Philippines' largest Muslim rebel group, condemned the attack.

The embassy said the Mercy has conducted more than 311 medical procedures aboard the ship, including surgeries, burn care, preventative medicine and dental treatment.

On land, in 20 communities across the southern Mindanao region, teams of U.S. and Philippine medical workers and volunteers have provided free medical treatment to more than 10,000 patients and veterinary care to about 2,000 animals.

Engineering teams also have completed renovation of two health clinics.

The Mercy heads next to eastern Samar province, where it plans to treat 12,000 patients, and is to arrive Sunday in Manila.



AVIATION TOP 100 - click to vote for MILAVIA