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U.S. team parachutes into sea off Mexican coast to reach 11 Chinese sailors



A team from a U.S. base in Arizona undertook a six-hour flight and a mid-air refueling to complete a rescue mission over the weekend.

Eleven Chinese seamen were found floating in a life-raft over 1000 miles off the coast of Mexico on May 3.

A Venezuelan fishing vessel picked up the men, several who were seriously burned, and sent out a request for help.

Airmen from the 563rd Rescue Group in Arizona were dispatched while the Arizona Air National Guard provided an in-flight refueling to speed up the mission.

The U.S. rescuers parachuted into the water, inflated a life-raft and climbed aboard the Venezuelan ship to provide medical assistance.

On Sunday, the U.S. personnel are scheduled to return to Mexico and then the U.S. Two badly burned Chinese sailors are to be flown to a burn center in San Diego. Two of the seriously burned men, however, have reportedly already died from their injuries

A spokeswoman at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona praised the state’s National Air Guard for its assistance in providing the mid-air refueling.

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