Monday, April 19, 2010

Volcano forces US army to reroute medical flights

WASHINGTON-US commanders have suspended medical evacuations of wounded soldiers to a military hospital in Germany due to the volcanic ash clouding European skies, the Pentagon said Friday. Soldiers seriously wounded in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are usually flown to Ramstein Air Base in Germany to be treated at the nearby Landstuhl medical center, the largest American military hospital outside the United States.But the volcano in Iceland has spewed clouds of ash over Europe, grounding thousands flights in the continent's biggest air travel shutdown since World War II.The US medical flights will instead head to Andrews Air Force base outside Washington, after flying across southern Europe -- which was still clear of ash, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters."So we're making adjustments as necessary," he said, adding there had been no delays in medical evacuations.The military planes would either refuel in mid-air or at US bases in Italy, officials said.

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