Incidents » Terrorism
Author`s name Ольга Савка

Terrorists down Russian Mi-24 helicopter in Chechnya

The crash killed two crewmembers

The Mi-24 helicopter crashed in Chechnya on Sunday, September 12th. Two crewmembers died in the crash, the chairman of the Russian Air Force press service, Alexander Drobyshevsky, told Interfax.

The catastrophe took place south-east off Grozny (the Chechen capital), not far from the settlement of Alkhan-Kala, at 4:41 p.m. on September 12th. According to Drobyshevsy, the chopper was making a planned flight. “The special committee to investigate the reasons of the crash has been established,” the chairman of the Air Force press service added.

A source from the Chechen Interior Affairs Ministry told Interfax that rescuers and investigators started working on the crash site. The ministry does not have the exact information to say that the chopper has been attacked. 

The Office of the Public Prosecutor in the North-Caucasian military district filed a criminal case on the fact of the crash.

Meanwhile, it became known today that Chechen guerrillas downed the Mi-24 chopper in Chechnya from the ground, a source from the above-mentioned special committee told Interfax.

”The helicopter was attacked with a grenade-launcher, as it was flying on the height of 10-15 meters. The helicopter was also attacked with automatic fire,” a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry said. However, another anonymous source told Interfax that the information about an anti-aircraft weapon downing the helicopter was not true to fact: “A portable anti-aircraft system cannot down air targets at the height of 10-15 meters,” the news agency quoted the source as saying.

The special committee, meanwhile, is investigating several versions of the Mi-24 crash in Chechnya. “A technical malfunction or a piloting mistake is considered the two most probable reasons of the crash, which killed two members of the crew. The attack against the chopper from the ground is not ruled out either,” Drobyshevsky said. The official added that flight recorders found at the site and fragments of the crashed helicopter would help determine the reason of the tragic occurrence, Interfax said.

According to the press service of the Russia Air Force, two Mi-24 helicopters took off from the airbase in Khankala for reconnaissance activities. The connection with the second chopper was lost at 4:35 p.m. Moscow time. The leading helicopter found the crash site on its way to the airbase. Two other helicopters left for site at 4:50 p.m.

The commander of the crashed helicopter, captain Sergey Zaleznitsky, died immediately, senior lieutenant, Mikhail Korotya, deceased when he was being taken to hospital. Sergey Zaleznitsky, born in 1971, the father of two children, was a second-class pilot. Mikhail Korotya was born in 1980.