China Air Force planes sent to Nepal for quake relief

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BEIJING, April 27 (Xinhua) — The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force has sent IL-76 planes to Nepal to help with rescue operations following Saturday’s 8.1-magnitude earthquake, a spokesperson said on Monday.

Two IL-76 planes were dispatched to an airport in Chengdu, capital of southwest China’s Sichuan Province, and one IL-76 plane was placed at an airport in Kunming, capital of nearby Yunnan Province, to transport PLA rescuers and logistics to Nepal.

“Soldiers for this mission are experienced in conducting overseas military operations,” Colonel Shen Jinke said.

The Air Force has thoroughly planned its choice of airports and air routes as well as mission details, Shen said.

The Ilyushin IL-76 transport aircraft is a multi-purpose four-engine aircraft widely used in Europe, Asia and Africa. It is commonly used in transport, for airborne refueling or as a command center.

A team of 55 PLA soldiers left for Nepal on Monday aboard the plane from Kunming. Another team of 45 soldiers are scheduled to leave for Nepal on Tuesday.

The soldiers are taking with them four sniffer dogs, five recovery vehicles and rescue equipment, including life detection equipment and entry tools.

They are experienced in earthquake rescue missions and participated in past operations for the deadly earthquakes in Wenchuan and Lushan, both in Sichuan, and Ludian in Yunnan.

The team will conduct rescue operations, provide medical aid and offer psychological counseling after arriving in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital.

The earthquake struck Nepal at 2:11 p.m. Beijing time on Saturday, followed by a second 7-magnitude quake at 2:45 p.m. The quake has killed at least 3,218 people, including four Chinese.

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