Cyprus Mail

Cyprus search and rescue team returns from Lebanon

The search and rescue team Cyprus sent to Beirut last week returned on Monday after Lebanon called off all operations.

One helicopter from the police force and one from the army brought back the teams from the police unit Mmad and the emergency response unit Emak which left the island last Wednesday.

According to deputy police spokesman Stelios Stylianou, they arrived at around 2:25pm at Larnaca airport, underwent a covid-19 test and will be isolating for 14 days. Lebanon is a category C country.

Stylianou told CNA that both teams were comprised of four people each, with four rescue dogs and their handlers, as well as the chief sergeant.

They began work in the rubble last Friday morning but on Sunday the operation was called off by Lebanese authorities for all rescue teams which arrived to Beirut to help.

The Cypriot team did not find anyone alive or dead.

A helicopter was expected to leave Larnaca airport later on Monday to go to Beirut to pick up the team’s equipment and luggage.

Last Tuesday, 2,750 tonnes of highly explosive ammonium nitrate, used in making fertilisers and bombs, which had been stored for six years without safety measures at the Beirut port warehouse exploded leaving over 100 dead and 300,000 displaced.

The explosion was heard in Cyprus, some 200km away.

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