| Updated at: 2305 PST, Tuesday, September 21, 2010|
BEIJING: Four military helicopters took off from northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Tuesday to head to Pakistan to assist in flood relief work.
Yuan Jichang, a major general with the General Staff Department of People's Liberation Army (PLA), said it was the first time Chinese military helicopters have been sent overseas on a humanitarian mission.
The most devastating floods in a century swept Pakistan in July.
Along with the four helicopters, the Central Military Commission of China has dispatched 64 rescue personnel to Pakistan.
Zhao Bin, head of the rescue team, said the four helicopters were engaged in search and rescue missions after several major natural disasters in China, including the catastrophic Wenchuan earthquake on May 12, 2008, and the Zhouqu mudslide this year.
Zhang Heshui, the rescue team's political commissar, said, "The mission is significant for Sino-Pakistani friendship."