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US air teams rescuing injured Chinese sailors



PHOENIX (AP) -- A parachuting medical team and other U.S. Air Force rescuers are working to bring two badly burned Chinese sailors from a boat in the Pacific Ocean to a California hospital.

Officials said two other Chinese sailors died and six are believed to be missing after their boat sank.

Maj. Sarah Schwennesen, at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, said Sunday that a Venezuelan fishing boat reported finding 11 sailors floating in a raft Friday afternoon.

She said the Venezuelan crew said four sailors were badly burned. Two later died of their injuries.

Airmen from the 563rd Rescue Group parachuted into the water Saturday afternoon and used inflatable boats to reach the Venezuelan vessel, which is 1,100 nautical miles west of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Schwennesen said. They treated the injured sailors Saturday and Sunday.

The injured sailors will be hoisted, along with the U.S. airmen, onto three helicopters and flown to Cabo San Lucas, a coastal city in western Mexico. The injured pair will then be taken in a different aircraft to a burn unit in San Diego, accompanied by the airmen giving them care.

It wasn't immediately clear when the transfer would occur and officials weren't available for comment late Sunday.

The distance required to reach the sailors has been the most challenging, Schwennesen said. Because of an estimated six-hour flight that included flying over miles of ocean, a refueling aircraft was dispatched from the Arizona Air National Guard in Phoenix.

"The assistance of refueling by the 161st out of Phoenix was critical in providing faster care," Schwennesen said. "They could refuel over the Pacific Ocean rather than fly down to Mexico first."

The Venezuelan boat had sent out a request for help around 5 p.m. Friday, and it was received by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center.

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Ed De Shae May 06 2014 at 9:02 AM

All in a day's work for U.S. Air Force Rescue & Pararescuemen living by the motto: "These things we do, that others may live!" Kudos!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
fred May 05 2014 at 8:43 PM

Time to salute the people involved with the rescue and stand tall as an American.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
jaded13640 May 05 2014 at 8:37 PM

Wow, this is cool but...couldn't they have done this for the people who died in Bengazi?

Flag Reply +2 rate up
3 replies
Karen May 05 2014 at 8:29 PM

Couldn't have done it without that flying "gas station" tanker refueling them.

Boom Operators ROCK!

Flag Reply +7 rate up
goongae May 05 2014 at 8:00 PM

Once again it's the USA that comes to the rescue of those in need.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
jas goongae May 05 2014 at 10:17 PM

Rarely do you hear about other military rescue units doing what US types do . . .

Flag Reply +1 rate up
saultydog42 May 05 2014 at 7:47 PM

My only problem with this is. We go to extreme to locate, rescue and hospitalize these chinese people while we let 40 of our own veterans die while awaiting an appointment for their ailments, I have no regrets for taking care of these chinese men but we should put more attention and money into our own veterans and troops

Flag Reply +12 rate up
2 replies
Andy saultydog42 May 05 2014 at 8:52 PM

I agree with your sentiments, but we should look to the care givers. The money is there, nomatter what is said. We do not need to throw more money at the vet treatment problem, but oversight is needed. No one is watching the administrators, making big bucks and getting bonuses for covering up the facts. And some of the workers have to cooperate in the poor treatment and record keeping for this to happen. Maybe this is a job for vets, getting work and providing the inspections and follow through necessary to reform the VA system.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
cact25 Andy May 05 2014 at 10:41 PM

I agree. Hire a Vet and and fire a government worker. Makes $sen$e to me. At least then you would have people who know something about what is needed and guts enough to make it happen.

Flag +1 rate up
cact25 saultydog42 May 05 2014 at 10:39 PM

You are comparing apples and oranges. You cannot do anything about what the military does or does not do, but you can about waht the VA does or does not do. So instead of commenting here, do something constructive and contact your representative and Senator abot the VA!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
atppilot May 05 2014 at 7:46 PM

Good on you guys in Air Rescue...:) We are very proud of you! Good on you!

Flag Reply +7 rate up
atppilot May 05 2014 at 7:44 PM

God will know it...that's all that counts!

Flag Reply +7 rate up
madddddddddddddd May 05 2014 at 7:39 PM

this is very nice,,,,,,but will the average chinese person,evr know we did this??????

Flag Reply +8 rate up
3 replies
alleykat74 May 05 2014 at 7:30 PM

They do it, "...so others may live."

Flag Reply +6 rate up
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