7 Die in Romanian Military Helicopter's Botched Search Mission to Spot Missing Fighter Jet

© Photo : Public Domain / ermaleksandr / Romanian Air Force MiG-21
Romanian Air Force MiG-21 - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.03.2022
On Wednesday evening, a pilot on a Romanian Air Force MiG-21 LanceR reported unfavourable weather conditions and was ordered to return to base before disappearing from radar screens.
Romania's Defence Ministry has confirmed that seven people died after a military helicopter crashed in the east of the nation near the Black Sea while conducting a search-and-rescue mission for a missing Romanian Air Force fighter jet. The condition of the plane remains unknown.
"Seven military personnel lost their lives in an air crash involving an IAR 330-Puma helicopter on Wednesday. In addition to the five crew members initially reported, two sea rescuers from the Romanian Naval Forces were also on board. Search and rescue operations for the pilot of the MiG-21 LanceR aircraft are still ongoing", the ministry said in a statement posted on their Facebook page.
According to the ministry, two special commissions have been set up to investigate the accidents, with a focus on the Puma helicopter's search-and-rescue operation.
Officials earlier said that the MIG-21 LanceR from the 86th Air Base lost contact with the control tower and went off radar while conducting an air patrol mission in the Dobrogea region of southeastern Romania on Wednesday evening. Shortly thereafter, the IAR 330-Puma helicopter was tasked with a search mission and it also disappeared.
The Defence Ministry said that the MiG-21 pilot, whose fate remains unknown, reported adverse weather conditions and had been ordered to return to base before the warplane disappeared from radar screens.
The news website Romania-Insider reported that the helicopter crash took place "amid increased air police missions" in the country, allegedly due to the ongoing Russian special military operation to demilitarise and "de-Nazify" Ukraine. The operation was announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin on 24 February after a request for assistance by the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics, which have witnessed weeks of increasing shelling by the Ukrainian Army.
G4Media, another Romanian news outlet, published footage allegedly depicting the wreckage of the crashed helicopter in flames, arguing that there was "a huge explosion" over the Black Sea as a result of the crash.
Romanian Defence Minister Vasile Dincu has since extended his condolences to the families of those killed in the helicopter crash, saying that Wednesday was "a sad day for the Romanian Army family".
He was echoed by Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca, who said that he was "deeply saddened by the tragic end of the Romanian military that perished tonight in Dobrogea".
To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала