Dramatic video shows escape from Iraqi jihadists
Terrified Yazidis clamber onto helicopter amid reports that most are dead
Video and screenshot: CNN/Youtube
An Iraqi general told a British journalist Sunday that up to 70 percent of the Yazidis who took refuge in the Sinjar Mountains in Northern Iraq are dead.
Foreign aid flights have dropped off thousands of meals and thousands of gallons of drinking water to help the refugees, though some aid packages turned out to be useless because the parachutes failed and they crashed on impact.
But a few of the survivors managed to escape what the Iraqi general called "death valley."
CNN photojournalist Mark Phillips captured a dramatic rescue of Yazidis during an Iraqi military humanitarian airdrop.
As the Iraqi air force and fighters with the Kurdish peshmerga brought in supplies by helicopter, some on the ground managed to board the craft and make it safely out.
“We landed on several short occasions, and that’s where — amid this explosion of dust and chaos — these desperate civilians came racing towards the helicopter, throwing their children on board the aircraft. The crew was just trying to pull up as many people as possible,” said CNN's Ivan Watson, who was on board.
"Handfuls of refugees have managed to escape on the helicopters but many are being left behind because the craft are unable to land on the rocky mountainside," wrote The Telegraph's Jonathan Krohn. "There, they face thirst and starvation, as well as the crippling heat of midsummer."
The choppers can take on only about a dozen people at a time and have difficulty landing on the rocky terrain. AP reported today that an Iraqi helicopter delivering aid to the displaced had crashed, apparently because too many people were on board.
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