HK Flying Service joins relief effort

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 May, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 May, 2008, 12:00am

A five-member Government Flying Service team left yesterday for Sichuan to join the Hong Kong government's search and rescue team on its dangerous mission.

The flying team, which will be providing technical assistance, consists of two pilots, two aircrew members and an aircraft engineer.

A service spokesman said the team arrived in Chengdu yesterday afternoon, and would stay in Sichuan for at least a week.

They are based at an aviation base in the town of Guanghan, just outside Chengdu, where a fleet of helicopters is stationed. The team will work with the Ministry of Communications and are on standby to fly key missions, such as evacuations and airdrops.

On Thursday, a 41-member rescue squad flew to Sichuan. It has been working in Mianzhu county , after being assigned by the mainland rescue command, searching a collapsed administrative building at the Dongfang Electric factory.

Acting director of Fire Services Chan Chor-kam said members of the team were experiencing serious aftershocks, nearly a week after Monday's earthquake.

Mr Chan said more rescuers would be deployed as necessary. The squad would stay in the disaster area for at least seven days.

Hong Kong Red Cross deputy secretary Wilson Wong Mok-fai said the biggest difficulty for rescuers was that the transport network had been destroyed.

'Roads heading to the most affected areas are not yet cleared.'