Saturday 24th of August 2019, 17:39 CET|
|Nine feared dead in Sochi helicopter crash|
September 4, 2003
Written by Sergei Venyavsky
Posted by HW on August 24, 2019
A helicopter with up to nine people on board crashed in southern Russia on Thursday, and its burnt-out wreck left little hope that anyone survived, officials said.
The Ka-32 helicopter - which its owners said was delivering supplies to a construction site in the mountains - was flying near the Black Sea resort city of Sochi when it went missing in the mountains in deep fog, said Alexander Lemeshev, a spokesman for the Emergency Situations Ministry's branch in southern Russia.
Construction workers found the burned and destroyed helicopter near a mountain about 35 miles north of Sochi, said Rudolf Teimurazov, deputy head of the Interstate Aviation Committee in Moscow.
Preliminary reports from rescuers who reached the site indicated there were no survivors, Teimurazov said.
Lemeshev said that the helicopter only carried the crew of four, but Nikolai Shustov, the chief of the ministry's office in Sochi, said it had nine people on board, including five passengers.
Ground controllers lost communication with the crew after hearing a bang. Mountaineers in the area told emergency officials in Sochi that they had seen a helicopter flying low over the mountains and then heard an explosion and saw smoke.
The crash, which came just as Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Sochi, closely follows two recent helicopter crashes that killed a total of 26 people last month in Russia's Far East.
The Aug. 20 crash of an Mi-8 helicopter in the Kamchatka Peninsula killed all 20 people on board, including a regional governor, after the crew dangerously deviated from the set course and slammed into the ground in low, thick clouds.
On Aug. 26, two military Mi-24 helicopter gunships collided while landing following military exercises in the Russian Far East, killing six crew. Investigators blamed the crash on pilot error and official negligence.