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Russian Air Force chief grounds Mi-8 helicopters after crash in Saratov region

May 28, 2013, 15:50 UTC+3

A Ministry commission flew to the scene to investigate the cause of the accident

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MOSCOW, May 28 (Itar-Tass) - The Russian Air Force chief ordered to ground Mi-8 helicopters following a crash in the Saratov region, in which one crewmember died and two others were injured, a spokesman said.

"Air Force commander-in-chief Viktor Bondarev ordered to ground Mi-8 helicopters pending the results of the probe into the crash," Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told Itar-Tass.

The helicopter crashed near the village of Ivanovskoye, the Saratov region, at around 12:00, Moscow time. It was on a training flight.

"Of the crew of three, the commander /instructor/ and the trainee managed to leave the falling helicopter. The engineer has died. The survivors are in satisfactory condition," according to the spokesman.

The crash did not cause damage on ground. A rescue team from the Emergency Situations Ministry arrived at the scene of crash at 12:15, Moscow time. A Ministry commission flew to the scene to investigate the cause of the accident.

The crash site is some 50 kilometers from Saratov, according to representative of the main military investigation department for the central military district Alexei Sadovsky.

Military prosecutors earlier said there were four people on board.

Criminal proceedings were opened over violation of flight safety rules. Meanwhile, the investigators said the flight data recorders had been found and delivered to the Sokol air base.

"The flight data recorders will be sent for analysis to a Defense Ministry research center shortly," Konashenkov said.

The crash might have been caused by piloting error or technical fault, Sadovsky said, "all possible causes will be checked within the framework of the investigation, in particular the quality of pre-flight preparation; also, fuel samples will be taken. There is no priority version yet."


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