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Canadian Copters In Jamaica For Hurricanes

TRENTON, Ontario, Aug. 11 (UPI) — The Canadian military is deploying 65 air force personnel and three helicopters to Jamaica as hurricane season ramps up, defense officials said.

Defense Minister Peter MacKay announced the deployment of troops and three CH-146 Griffon helicopters to the Caribbean island that suffered major devastation by Hurricane Dean in August 2007.

MacKay said the Jamaican government requested Canada’s assistance after the U.S. National and Oceanic Atmospheric Administration said last week it expected “high hurricane activity during August through October.”

This year, there have been five Atlantic tropical storms, but none have caused significant damage in the Caribbean, Mexico or southeastern United States.

The Canadian soldiers are specialists in aerial search and rescue missions, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

MacKay said the crews will arrive in Kingston Friday and remain there until the end of hurricane season on Nov. 30.

Jamaican Sen. Dwight Nelson told the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper the Canadians would also train their Jamaican counterparts in search and rescue techniques.

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

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