11 Jul 2011

NZ soldiers help stricken US helicopter

7:03 pm on 11 July 2011

New Zealand soldiers in Afghanistan have come to the aid of a stricken United States Army helicopter.

The Defence Force says debris sucked into the Apache aircraft damaged the engine and left it exposed on an airfield in Bamyan province.


The team at the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team's workshop fashioned a tow bar to help retrieve the helicopter.

They then laid sheets of plywood and prepared the ground for a light armoured vehicle to pull the eight-tonne helicopter around a corner, across a ditch and up a hill to Kiwi Base.

Sergeant Judy Beltowski, of the 10th Mountain Division of the US Army, praised the New Zealanders' efforts, saying she had never seen that level of craftsmanship from a maintenance team.

It took two days to repair the helicopter, which was returned to its home base on 22 June.