January 23, 2006

No trace yet of missing quake aid helicopter: ICRC

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Searchers have yet to locate a
Turkmen helicopter that disappeared three days ago with seven
crew aboard during a flight home after helping with earthquake
relief efforts in Pakistan, aid officials said on Monday.

Layla Berlemont, communications coordinator for the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Islamabad,
said a search for the Russian-made MI-8 helicopter was
continuing on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghan border.

Temperatures in the mountainous border region fall as low
as minus 30 Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit) during the winter.

The helicopter, which the ICRC had chartered to help with
earthquake relief in October, took off from Peshawar in
northwest Pakistan on Friday and lost radio contact with ground
staff soon after crossing into Afghan airspace.

U.S. and NATO aircraft, including F-16 and Harrier
warplanes, were involved in the search on the Afghan side.