Home News Belgian, Luxembourg rescue teams return from Haiti

Belgian, Luxembourg rescue teams return from Haiti

Published on 18/01/2010
BRUSSELS – The teams landed at around 1845 GMT in an Airbus A330 plane, with some 20 other people aboard, including Belgians and foreign nationals who sought to flee by any means possible, images from broadcaster RTBF showed.

The Belgian B-FAST search and rescue team was among the first from abroad to arrive on the scene following Tuesday’s quake, which is thought to have killed more than 50,000 people and injured a quarter of a million others.

While B-FAST medical teams remain in Haiti, the 22-member search and rescue team withdrew believing that it could do no more to save people trapped in buildings destroyed by the 7.0 earthquake.

A team of 16 search and rescue specialists from Luxembourg was also aboard.

"The opinion of the United Nations, as well as the teams themselves, was that at this time, notably given the climatic conditions, their chances of success became too slim," Belgium’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

"The B-FAST field hospital is fully operational, but security around this hospital is not yet optimal," the statement said, adding that UN protection was being sought for the medical staff.

The Belgian search and rescue team had to spend its last night at the airport in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince due to security concerns, Belgian officials said.

The foreign ministry said that 87 Belgians were still to be accounted for in Haiti. Three were officially listed as missing.