Chechnya chopper crash kills 15

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Friday, March 18, 2005

A Russian helicopter crash near Grozny, Chechnya killed 15 of the 16 servicemen aboard, leaving one seriously injured. The Mi-8 helicopter hit a power line before bursting into flames when it struck the ground on Thurs March 10.

Video footage of the scene was broadcast by NTY television. Early speculation that the crash was the result of hostile fire seems doubtful at this time. Investigators were able to recover the flight recorder to help establish the cause of the crash. Russia has lost helicopters due to ground fire in the Chehnyan region in the past, but pilot error or malfunctions have also been to blame.

Interfax quoted a source within the Russian military as saying the helicopter was transporting 7 intelligence officers being sent into the region for “anti-terorist activities”.