The first team of American doctors and nurses sent to help victims of earthquake-ravaged Soviet Armenia flew home in time to spend Christmas with their families in New York.

Five doctors, a pharmacist, a nurse and a technician from the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx returned to New York late Saturday after spending 12 days setting up a sophisticated intensive care unit in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia."The loss of life was just incredible, and the 2,000 people they were salvaging out of the ruins each day were simply overwhelming the hospitals," said Vladimir Kvetan, head of the volunteer group and director of the hospital's critical care division.