JOURNALISTS HURT IN PAF CHOPPER CRASH

Manila, Jan. 22, 2003 (Star) - A Philippine Air Force helicopter crashed Tuesday in a mountainous area north of Manila, injuring seven people including a number of television journalists, the military said.

The aircraft plunged into a forested area near Mount Williams near San Jose city due to strong winds shortly after take off.

The helicopter crew was assigned to recover the remains of alleged victims of communist New People's Army guerrillas at a mass grave, the military report said.

Television journalists were among the seven injured, it said.

"The chopper tried to make a lift thrice, but it gave in and swirled as it was whipped by strong wings," said ABS-CBN cameraman Bong de la Cruz, who suffered contusions.

Regional army chief Brigadier General Alberto Garcia said rescue teams had been sent to area, adding that one enlisted person was badly injured in the leg.

"So far, everyone is generally okay except for the enlisted personnel, whose legs might be amputated," he said.


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