An armed flotilla of South Vietnamese naval vessels steamed up the Mekong River and into Cambodia on Saturday (May 9).
MV Gun goats and bigger ships on Mekong
MV landing craft full of refugees
TV refugees boarding landing craft
MV & CU refugees getting into boat with possessions (3 shots)
MV woman pulling boat with possessions
TV refugees with bicycle, possessions and livestock
CU pet monkey on board
TV refugees on ship
TV refugees boarding (4 shots)
CU man tying rope onto landing craft to pull villagers boats behind
MV villagers boats being pulled
CY boy on ship
MV boats behind landing craft
TV villagers wading out to boat with possessions, being helped by police (2 shots)
MV Vietnamese Naval officer on board, refugees on ship in B/G
MV ship past with refugees
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Background: An armed flotilla of South Vietnamese naval vessels steamed up the Mekong River and into Cambodia on Saturday (May 9). Its mission - to evacuate Vietnamese threatened by the current. Cambodian purge and to bring relief supplies to those Vietnamese who refuse to leave their homes.
Minesweepers and river patrol boats led the flotilla up the Mekong. A couple of hospital ships and numerous landing craft spearheaded the evacuation.
These ships were part of a combined force of about 140 South Vietnamese and United States craft which began the sweep up the Mekong. One part of the task force yesterday (Sunday) helped recapture the strategic Neak Leung ferry from the North Vietnamese, re-opening the highway link between Phnom Penh and Saigon.
Vietnamese military sources said that about 3,000 Vietnamese living along the Mekong south of the ferry had asked to be repatriated.
While 30 American patrol boats guarded the Neak Leung ferry, the South Vietnamese ships continued their sweep up the Mekong and were today reported to have reached Phnom Penh.
An official Saigon delegation was already in Phnom Penh discussing the repatriation of Vietnamese from Cambodia. The talks marked the first official contact between the countries since 1963.