Forces loyal to beleaguered dictator Moammar Gadhafi seized the three-member crew -- two men and one woman -- together with two evacuees near the coastal city of Sirte on Sunday. The evacuees, a Dutch man and a Swedish woman, were allowed to leave the country, but the aircrew is still being held at an unknown location.
The Dutch Defense Ministry insists that the crew was simply carrying out a "consular evacuation." However, Libyan authorities have attempted to cast doubt on that claim.
Earlier today, the country's state-run Al-Jamahiriyah TV station broadcast a video report that began with a shot of the Lynx helicopter, which a commentator describes as a combat helicopter. The female commentator then notes that, "According to the [Saudi Arabian] broadcaster al-Arabiya, this helicopter was sent to rescue people, but we can see something else here."
The camera pans across to a table showing items found inside the helicopter, including assault rifles, cell phones, bullets and ammunition, body armor, a digital camera and a stack of dollar bills. "The helicopter flew into Libyan airspace and landed in Sirte without any permission from the authorities, and this is in violation of international law," the commentary continues.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has said his country is negotiating for the crew's release. "It is terrible for the crew of the Lynx helicopter," he said, according to the BBC. "Everything is being done to make sure the crew get home."