‘No Question Many People Have Died Up There’: Correspondent Details Refugee Crisis on Iraq Mountain
Tonight on “The Kelly File,” a foreign affairs correspondent gave an incredible firsthand account of Christians trapped on a mountain in Iraq.
Yesterday, Jonathan Rugman, a correspondent for Channel 4 News in the U.K., flew to the mountain where Iraqi Christians are stranded. Today, the pilot that flew him died in a helicopter crash.
Rugman said that refugees tried to overwhelm the helicopter, clinging to it. The chopper tried to take off, and it overturned, killing the pilot and injuring passengers. Rugman said he spoke to the pilot minutes before he took off.
“He said to me through the helicopter door, ‘I’m worried for this helicopter, it’s too heavy,’” Rugman told Martha MacCallum.
MacCallum asked Rugman how many people he thinks have been lost on the mountain and how many remain there awaiting help. He said it’s an impossible question to answer because nobody is counting.
Rugman said Sinjar Mountain is a misnomer because it’s a mountain range that stretches for miles and is about a mile high. He described it as barren and said there’s no shelter from the sun. Rugman spoke to a man today who told him that he had seen 33 unburied bodies and had buried two people.
“[There’s] no question that a humanitarian disaster has happened and that many people have died up there.”
Rugman said some refugees are making their way down the mountain out of desperation. They’re headed to Syria to make a roundabout journey back into Iraq.
“I saw a steady stream, the stream has been going on for days.”
Watch his full account above.