Image: U.S. helicopter joins Montenegro winter rescue effort
Risto Bozovic  /  AP
A U.S. helicopter sits at Podgorica airport, Montenegro, on Wednesday, ready to join rescue operations in areas of the tiny Balkan state hit by the heaviest snowfall in 60 years.
updated 2/22/2012 1:40:37 PM ET 2012-02-22T18:40:37

Two U.S. helicopters arrived in Montenegro Wednesday to join rescue operations in the areas of the tiny Balkan state hit by the heaviest snowfall in 60 years.

The U.S. military deployed two Black Hawk helicopters in response to Montenegro's appeal to NATO for urgent help for thousands of snowbound people in the north of the country.

Croatia, Slovenia and Greece have already sent helicopters for the rescue mission.

Last week, Montenegro's authorities declared a state of emergency as four people died and more than 350 had to be evacuated from villages blocked by up to 11.5 feet of snow.

In nearby Serbia, however, rising temperatures have led authorities to consider lifting a state of emergency imposed earlier this month.

Meanwhile, the Netherlands' royal information service says Prince Johan Friso remains in stable but life-threatening condition five days after he was buried by an avalanche in the Austrian Alps.

The 43-year-old was rushed to the intensive care unit of Innsbruck's main hospital Feb. 17 after he was pulled from the snow. He had been skiing off marked trails in the Lech winter sports region.

Friso has received daily visits from his mother, Queen Beatrix, and his wife, Princess Mabel.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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