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3 injured in quake-relief copter's forced landing
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Three people were injured, one critically, after a quake-relief helicopter made a forced landing in southwest China's Sichuan Province on Wednesday because of a mechanical failure, said an official with the Shifang Municipal Quake Relief and Rescue Headquarters.

The injured were evacuated by another helicopter, the official said.

An earlier report said no one was injured in the accident, quoting sources with the the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

The Super Puma helicopter landed in an open field at the Happy Valley entertainment park in Hongbai Town, Shifang City, Sichuan at 12:35 p.m., the official said.

The chopper had 13 crew and quake relief staff aboard when the accident happened. The aircraft belongs to the Citic Offshore Helicopter Co. Ltd.

The helicopter was heading to Shifang City to carry out a wild animal rescue mission when it encountered mechanical problems.

The helicopter was supposed to evacuate two endangered white lions and one white tiger, which had been trapped in the park since the May 12 quake, to the Bifengxia Zoo in Ya'an City, the West China City Daily reported on Wednesday.

A reporter from the West China Daily was to take the helicopter on Wednesday morning and witness the rescue effort, the newspaper reported.

A Xinhua reporter is on the way to the scene.

(Xinhua News Agency June 12, 2008)

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