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Pattaya Daily News

29 October 2011 :: 12:10:28 pm 59552

US helicopters to survey Thai flooding

WASHINGTON, October 28, 2011 - Thailand has asked a US destroyer to extend its stay at a main port to allow American helicopters to survey deadly flood waters that have triggered an exodus from Bangkok, the Pentagon said Friday.
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Two SH-60 Seahawk choppers aboard the USS Mustin will conduct “aerial reconnaissance for the Thai government,” Captain John Kirby told reporters.

The ship docked at Laem Chabang a few days ago for a week-long stint but “the destroyer Mustin will be staying in Thailand a little bit longer now,” he said. “The Thai government has asked to have it stick around to help out.”

The guided-missile warship will prolong its stay at the port by about five or six days, he added.

As Thailand has faced its worst flooding in decades, the question of US military assistance has been a sensitive issue amid questions about how the Thai government has handled the crisis.

The US Navy initially sent an aircraft carrier and other ships to the area for possible assistance with relief efforts but the Bangkok government never issued a formal request for help and the vessels departed.

The Thai military also had said earlier it did not require assistance from US forces to contend with the flooding, which has gone on for three months and has left over 377 people dead, mostly in northern and central Thailand.

After US defense officials said Washington had received “mixed messages” from Bangkok, the Pentagon issued a statement praising Thailand’s response to the flooding.

Reporter : AFP   Photo : AFP   Category : World News

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