There were 132 people (127 servicemen and 5 crewmen) on board the Mi-26 helicopter, which crashed in Chechnya on Monday. This information has been disclosed by Sergei Fridinsky, the Deputy Prosecutor General of the North Caucasus.
A high-ranking staff officer of the Joint Group of Forces in Chechnya told a RIA Novosti correspondent that according to preliminary data, the helicopter had crashed because of a technical malfunction. The pilot reported that the engine was in fire, the staff spokesmen was quoted as saying. Accoridng to him, "no shooting was reported, but we do not rule out such a version." The helicopter with servicemen on board was bound from Mozdok to Khankala, but crashed near Khankala airport.
The Russian Defence Ministry has officially confirmed that several people were wounded and killed in the crash. According to the latest data, 32 victims, including 5 crewmen, are currently in the Khankala military hospital.
Following the crash of the Mi-26 helicopter, Gennady Troshev, Commander, North Caucasian Military District, immediately set out for Chechnya from the Rostov-on-Don city. Later on, it was reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin had talked to Gennady Troshev on the phone. According to Alexei Gromov, the press secretary of the Russian President, the Russian leader set a task to the Commander to pay particular attention to "rendering all possible assistance to the victims," as well as to launch "a profound and objective invetigation" into the tragedy's cause.