Flying Low

US helicopters began flying in Sri Lanka as part of a military operation to boost the island’s tsunami relief work, officials said. US helicopters began flying in Sri Lanka as part of a military operation to boost the island’s tsunami relief work, officials said. Two Black Hawk aircraft were seen flying near the international airport outside Colombo as dozens of US marines arrived on the island, the officials said.

“US helicopters are already on the ground and more troops have arrived,” US embassy spokesman Chris Long said without giving details. “The military aircraft are being used purely for humanitarian work.”

Local officials said 30 more marines landed Tuesday after 42 had arrived Monday. More than a dozen touched down at the weekend marking the start of an eventual deployment of 1,500 personnel for “humanitarian assistance and disaster relief”.

The main contingent of 1,000 men was to arrive aboard the landing craft USS Bonhomme Richard, said Long, who declined to say when. The larger vessel is carrying 20 transport helicopters.

The local officials said more than a dozen US marines had moved to the