Heartwrenching Video Captures The Helicopter Rescue Of Stranded Yazidis

Heartwrenching Video Captures The Helicopter Rescue Of Stranded Yazidis

In a powerful video released on Monday, Britain's Channel 4 News captures the scene of an Iraqi military helicopter delivering aid to members of the country's Yazidi minority, who are trapped on Mount Sinjar by Islamic State militants.

Jonathan Rugman, the channel's foreign affairs correspondent who has been documenting the humanitarian disaster, accompanied the helicopter.

"These are dangerous helicopter missions and there aren't enough of them," he says in the video. "But the risk is, that unless more aid flights take people off this mountain, then hundreds, if not thousands, might die."

After dropping aid, the helicopter landed for about five minutes, prompting what Rugman describes as an "awful scramble of the refugees to get aboard."

"They tried to squeeze through the gap between the machine gun that was mounted on the door and the rest of the door," Rugman told Mashable in a first-person account of the event. "They cried as they piled on top of each other as they were trying to get through this door."

The chopper only had space for 25 refugees.

"We left hundreds...behind, who just couldn't fit on board," Rugman told the site.

Up to 40,000 people, most of whom are Yazidis, were forced to flee to Mount Sinjar last week to escape the Islamic State militants, who had vowed to kill them. Kurdish rebels from neighboring Syria reportedly rescued at least 20,000 over the weekend, but the remaining civilians are still trapped. At least 500 Yazidis have been killed, and some buried alive, according to an Iraqi human rights official.

Secretary of State John Kerry said last week that the group's actions "bear all the warning signs and hallmarks of genocide."

Listen to Jonathan Rugman's account of the evacuation here:

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