[quote]U.S. Copter Carrying Quake Aid Draws Fire
By PAUL HAVEN, Associated Press Writer
Tue Nov 1, 4:34 PM ET
[b]Assailants fired at a U.S. military helicopter Tuesday as it ferried supplies to earthquake victims in Pakistan’s portion of divided Kashmir, the U.S. military said, but it vowed to continue aid flights.
The attack with an apparent rocket-propelled grenade came as the CH-47 Chinook flew over Chakothi, a quake-ravaged town near the frontier separating the Pakistani and Indian portions of the Himalayan region, said Capt. Rob Newell, a spokesman for the U.S. military relief effort.[/b]
“The aircraft was not hit and returned safely with its crew” to an air base near the capital, Islamabad, he told The Associated Press.
The Pakistani army spokesman, Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan, expressed skepticism an attack took place, saying engineers were using explosives to clear a road near where U.S. helicopters were flying.
“The blast was huge enough to kick up dust which the pilot probably misunderstood as rocket fire,” Sultan said, adding that Pakistani soldiers searched the area after the reported attack and witnesses on the ground did not see a rocket attack.
A U.S. military officer, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject to Pakistan-American relations, said the military stood by its account. He said the crewman who reported the attack had just served in Afghanistan for months and can recognize a fired rocket-propelled grenade.