SLAF chopper: fireball seen

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 25 November 1997, 23:59 GMT]
The SLAF which crashed early this morning may have been shot down, according tosources close to the army in Vavuniya. Sri Lankan soldiers report seeing afireball in the sky said the sources.

The sources said that there was fighting between the Liberation Tigers and the Sri Lankan army in the Puliyankulam-Nainamadu area last night.

The SLA is said to have suffered casualties and the SLAF Bell was called into evacuate some of the wounded.

The pilots had informed the control tower that they were descending to 1000 feet shortly before the crash. All four crewmen were killed, military officials said earlier.

Sri Lankan soldiers report seeing a fireball in the sky, suggesting the aircraft may have been hit by LTTE anti-aircraft fire, as its height dropped.

There has been no official confirmation of the soldiers' sighting.

The SLA's casualty evacuation efforts have been hampered by LTTE mortar fire and heavy rain, and the latest crash could hit morale further, said the sources.


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