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MOSCOW, August 29 (Itar-Tass) —— The hard landing of a Mi-8 helicopter in Arkhyz area in Karachai-Cherkessia, Russia’s constituent republic in the North Caucasus, on Monday, August 29, was caused by the pilot’s error, a source in the aviation community told Itar-Tass.
“It seems that the hard landing is a result of the crew’ s error as they failed land the helicopter in the mountains,” a source close to the investigation of the incident said.
The Federal Agency for Air Transportation told Itar-Tass that a commission of the Interstate Aviation Commission (IAC) is investigating the incident.
It said the “landing site was chosen from the air... It was in the mountains at a height of 1,650 metres above sea level”.
“Preliminarily, the causes of the incident are related to peculiarities of making a landing approach in the mountains,” an official at the Federal Agency for Air Transportation told Itar-Tass.
According to the Investigation Committee, a private helicopter fell on one side when making a landing on the runway in the vicinity of the settlement of Arkhyz in Karachai-Cherkessia.
“Investigators and criminalists from the Southern Investigation Department for Transport of the Investigation Committee for Karachai-Cherkessia of the Russian Investigation Committee,” the Investigation Committee said.
Those hospitalised include Deputy plenipotentiary representative of the Russian president to the Southern Federal District Maxim Bystrov. Medics describe his condition as “medium gravity”.
It was reported lately that Bystrov got only bruised. He and four other injured persons have received all the necessary medical attention, Karachai-Cherkessia’s Ministry of Health and Resorts said.
“Two pilots were diagnosed for craniocerebral injuries and they will be transferred to the republican hospital. Three passengers received light injuries and they are being attended to,” Minister Irina Gerbekova said.
“Six people with bodily injuries were taken to health institutions, the others were not injured,” the Investigation Committee told Itar-Tass earlier.
According to there were 13 people aboard the helicopter. The exact number is being ascertained.
North Caucasus Resorts Board Chairman Akhmed Bilanov received light injuries and refused to be taken to hospital is now chairing a meeting in Arkhyz.
All five persons injured as a result of the incident were taken to the Zelenchuk central district hospital.
“It was a hard landing. The helicopter was turned over to one side by a strong gust of wind five metres above ground when landing,” the Karachai-Cherkessian Interior Ministry said.
“According to preliminary information, there were 13 people aboard the helicopter. One pilot and four passengers were injured,” the press service of the North Caucasian regional centre of the Emergencies Ministry told Itar-Tass.
It said there was no fire aboard the helicopter.
Two officials from North Caucasus Resorts and the helicopter pilot received light injuries.
The Karachai-Cherkessian Interior Ministry said it was not an accident.
The Investigation Department of the Investigation Committee for Karachai-Cherkessia of the Russian Investigation Committee has begun a probe into the incident. “The pilots will be examined for the presence of alcohol. And their version of the incident is being checked out,” Sergei Shuvayev, senior aide to the Investigation Department head, said.
The pilots blamed the hard landing on a sudden gust of wind that it the helicopter when it was about 25 metres above the ground. One of the crewmembers appeared to have received no injuries and is now giving testimony to the investigators.
“Based on the results of the probe, the decision will be made as to whether to open a criminal case or not,” Shuvayev said.