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    HIGHLAND SAFARI CAPPED WITH HELICOPTER CRASH

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    BISHKEK, March 17, 2004. (RIA Novosti) -- Twelve persons who were injured during a helicopter crash in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan were taken to the At-Bashi district hospital on Wednesday.

    As director of the Naryn Regional hospital Muratbek Atbayev said, two wounded are in an extremely grave condition. E conditonsThe condition of the others, among them three foreign citizens, is assessed as satisfactory.

    A helicopter of sanitary aviation brought a reserve of blood and oxygen from Bishkek to At-Bashi.

    Five other injured are expected to be carried from a frontier picket to the district centre soon.

    On Monday morning a helicopter of the Ecology and Emergency Situations Ministry of Kyrgyzstan made a forced landing in the highland Bashi district of the Naryn Region of Kyrgyzstan on the border with China, crashing to a rock during the landing. The place of the crash was found only 24 hours later, on Tuesday. It was decided to evacuate the injured from the place of the crash on snowmobiles because of non-flying weather conditions in the mountains.

    The evacuation is still going on, with incessant snowfall hampering it. According to the eyewitnesses, the snow cover in Arpy highland gorge where the crashed helicopter is now staying is more than two metres high.

    The helicopter that crashed carried, alongside citizens of Kyrgyzstan, also two US citizens and a Canadian, who had arrived in the republic to participate in a highland safari.

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