The airlift of supplies from the Utapao airbase in Thailand for the besieged Khmer Republic capital, Phnom Penh, increased over the weekend.
The airlift of supplies from the Utapao airbase in Thailand for the besieged Khmer Republic capital, Phnom Penh, increased over the weekend. The United States C-130 aircraft currently flown by civilian crews have been supplemented by three rented World Airways DC-8 cargo 'planes.
A United States military spokesman said that the big DC-8 jets were carrying mainly ammunition for Khmer Government forces ... waging a costly and protracted war against Khmer Rouge forces surrounding the capital. Hours after the supply aircraft touch down from Thailand, the ammunition is being loaded on board T-28 aircraft to drop supplies to nearby townships like Neak Luong on the Mekong River.
The increased airlift has been made necessary by the fact that insurgent forces have gained control over significant sections of the Mekong -- Phnom Penh's lifeline from the north. Many convoy crews have refused to sail unless given additional support by Government troops. An assortment of 15 tankers, barges and cargo ships have been sunk so far this year -- compared to a loss of only two vessels during 1974.
The new airlift -- an interim measure until the regular civilian carrier service can recruit more crews -- is being financed by the United States. its projected 10-day programme is expected to cost at least 1.2 million U.S. dollars (GBP500,000 sterling).