By Jim Garamone and Petty Officer 2nd Class Carolla Bennett, USN
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 24, 2006 – Coalition forces sent medical personnel to provide emergency treatment to the victims of a plane crash in Afghanistan’s Helmand province today, and Marines in Kunar province are giving villagers free medical treatment, military officials reported.
Three people are confirmed dead and several people were injured in the plane crash, including six people taken to Kandahar Airfield for treatment. Initial reports indicate the plane attempted to avoid a truck and overran the airport runway, crashing into a nearby village.
“When we were alerted that an airplane had crashed, the coalition immediately sent medical support to assist the injured passengers and any potential victims from the local village,” said Army Lt. Col. Paul Fitzpatrick, Combined Joint Task Force 76 spokesman.
The coalition also sent a quick-reaction force to the scene from the Lashkar Gah Provincial Reconstruction Team to provide ground security and medical assets.
In other news, medical Marines from Task Force Lava kicked off a medical civic assistance program in Afghanistan’s Kunar province April 21. Medical care was given to about 700 Afghan men on the program’s first day, with women and children receiving care beginning April 22.
The program, which is scheduled to continue through April 29, provides cost-free treatment to the province’s people. Many people in the mountainous rural northeastern province have only sporadic access to health care.
“Most of the people in remote provinces like Kunar have to travel miles and miles, sometimes across international borders, in order to receive medical treatment,” said Army Maj. Eric P. Zenk, Task Force Spartan public affairs officer. “Many people in Kunar haven’t seen a doctor or a nurse in months or years. This is a terrific opportunity for them to receive good health care in a timely, convenient manner.”
The medical program is another sign of the growing partnership between the Afghan people and coalition troops, Zenk said. “This area was once known as a terrorist haven,” he noted. “The progress is very heartening.”
(Compiled from Combined Forces Command Afghanistan news releases. Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael Pintagro, Task Force Spartan Public Affairs, contributed to this report.)