Dvora survivor swims ashore, helicopter hit

[TamilNet, Saturday, 08 April 2000, 05:20 GMT]
A wounded sailor who escaped from one of the Israeli built Dvora Fast Attack Craft (FACs) that were sunk last evening by the Liberation Tigers swam to the Amban coast in southeastern Jaffna early this morning. The sailor, R.M.S.Seneviratna, 21, of Mihintale told the TamilNet's Vadamaradchi correspondent who spoke to him in Amban soon after he arrived in the village that only he and another survived the Tiger attack on their FACs last night. Military sources in Jaffna said that a helicopter gunship was hit and damaged by fire from the coastal anti-aircraft gun positions of the Tigers last night in Vadamaradchi east.

There were 22 Sri Lanka Navy personnel on board the two Dvoras of whom 11 survived they claimed.

The sailor who swam ashore this morning said he did not know whether his colleague who escaped the LTTE attack made it ashore.

The Tigers, according to Seneviratna, had fired on the FACs from their artillery positions on the coast. The sea Tigers had also engaged the two Dvoras which he claimed were bombarding the defences of the LTTE on the Vadamaradchi east coast. The sailor was wounded by shrapnel in his neck. He swam to the Kottoadai beach, 1.5 kilometer east of Amban, early this morning and walked to the village, exhausted by the long swim.

He asked for water from some villagers he saw as he entered Amban, and was given coconut (Thambili) water to drink. The Sri Lanka army came from its base at Vallipuram around 7.30 a.m and took him for treatment at the Palaly army hospital.

Meanwhile sources in Vadamaradchi east said that two helicopter gunships had strafed the coastal hamlets of Solan Kudiyiruppu and Kudarappu, south of Nagar Kovil last night following the sinking of the two Dvoras. The anti-aircraft units of the Tigers deployed on the coast had returned fire according to them.

The Sri Lanka army claimed that the helicopter gunship that was hit by fire from LTTE positions here was able to fly back to the Palali air force base despite the damages it had sustained.

The LTTE's anti-aircraft gunners had also fired on an Isreali built Kfir jet bomber that flew over the area this morning. The jet bombed the Solan Kudiyiruppu-Kudarappu sector once before flying out sources said.


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