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French choppers rescue deminers

French choppers rescue deminers

F RENCH helicopters came to the rescue when a demining team hit an anti-tank mine in Siem Reap on Oct 17.

Two Khmer deminers were killed and four injured when their truck struck the freshly-laid mine on a road in Pouk district, 20 km north of the provincial capital.

The team were on their way to work for the French mine clearing organization Cofras when the blast occured.

The news was radioed to Phnom Penh and two French light helicopters with the Armee de l'Air were scrambled from Pochentong and flew to Siem Reap.

The choppers, with French pilots, picked up the wounded, flew back and landed in the grounds of Calmette Hospital, where medical staff rushed them inside for treatment.

Doctors named the wounded as Vey Son, 25, Thai Cheng, 28, Hean Vothy, 25 and Vun Vey, and said all four were seriously hurt with shrapnel wounds.

French Embassy spokesman Franck Gellet said the helicopters were at the disposal of His Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk under an agreement between Paris and Phnom Penh signed during the Untac period.

It is thought that the team believed the road was clear as they had driven home safely along the road on Friday evening and had been working in the area for some time.

The Post reported in its Aug 26 edition that the Khmer Rouge had threatened to kidnap French expat deminers directing Cofras' work.

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