China holds memorial ceremony for crashed military helicopter crew

2008-06-16 10:34:18 GMT       2008-06-16 18:34:18 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

The memorial ceremony is held for five helicopter crew members who were dead when their aircraft crashed in a quake relief mission, in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, June 16, 2008. The Mi-171 military transport helicopter was carrying injured civilians when it crashed deep in the mountains in air turbulence on a return trip from Lixian County to Chengdu on May 31. (Xinhua Photo)

The memorial ceremony is held for five helicopter crew members who were dead when their aircraft crashed in a quake relief mission, in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, June 16, 2008. (Xinhua Photo)

CHENGDU, June 16 (Xinhua) -- A memorial ceremony was held here on Monday for five helicopter crew members killed when their aircraft crashed on a quake relief mission on May 31.

Chinese President Hu Jintao, who is also General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), laid wreaths. So did top military generals including CMC Vice Chairmen Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou.

Li Jinai, head of the General Political Department of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), read a message of condolence from President Hu.

Xu Caihou, on behalf of Hu Jintao and other CMC leaders, expressed profound condolences over the crew members' death, and conveyed sympathy and solicitude to their families.

Xu called them the heroic quake-relief crew and the pride of the PLA, saying their merits will be forever engraved in people's minds.

The Mi-171 military transport helicopter crashed 7.5 kilometers from Yingxiu on May 31. Searchers found the crash site after a 12-day search.

The helicopter was carrying injured civilians when it crashed deep in the mountains in turbulence on a return trip from Lixian County to Chengdu.

The bodies of the crew were cremated in the Sichuan Provincial capital Chengdu last Friday.

Hu Jintao signed an order to bestow Senior Colonel Qiu Guanghua, the helicopter pilot, with a posthumous first-class merit on June 14.

Chengdu Military Command Area also awarded posthumous first-rank merits to the other four crew members, Li Yue, Wang Huaiyuan, Chen Lin and Zhang Peng.

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