A military transport helicopter engaging in quake relief work near the Yingxiu Township, Wenchuan County in Southwest China's Sichuan Province crashed on Saturday afternoon, according to military sources.
A crew of four and 10 injured local residents were on board for transfer when the Mi-171 helicopter with the quake relief troops of the Chengdu Military Area Command crashed at 2:56 p.m., the military sources said.
The helicopter was returning from a mission to carry epidemic prevention experts to Lixian county when it encountered strong turbulence and fog and crashed.
Chinese President Hu Jintao, also General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, has instructed local authorities to carry out search and rescue operations immediately.
Hu, who is overseeing quake relief operations in Hanzhong, Shaanxi Province, has also instructed vice chairman of the Central Military Commission Guo Boxiong to fly to front line to direct relevant operations.
Guo is en route to Sichuan, and the Chengdu Military Area Command is already carrying out search and rescue operations.
(Xinhua News Agency June 1, 2008)