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Thursday, 15 August, 2002, 07:45 GMT 08:45 UK
US helicopters swoop on sunbathers

United States and Italian officials have launched a joint inquiry into reports that US military helicopters swooped low over a packed beach so that the crew could get a close-up view of sunbathers.

The American embassy in Rome has admitted that a number of people on the ground were slightly injured when winds whipped up by the choppers sent beach furniture and umbrellas flying around.

The helicopters were said to have been on a Nato mission from Germany to the Balkans when the incident took place over southeastern Italy. The helicopters are said to have slowed down as they approached the beach, allowing the crew to wave at people.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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