Russia: March 21, 2003



The search for two missing Russian MI-24 Hind helicopters and their crews resumed in Chechnya in the morning, involving both MI-8 Hip and MI-24 helicopters as well as ground units. Two MI-8s and an AN-12 Cub plane were ready to join the search. Weather conditions in the search area are still adverse, the search is complicated by poor visibility and rough terrain. 

Due to bad weather in southeastern Chechnya, an airborne patrol of two MI-8 Hip and two MI-24 Hind helicopters was ordered to climb above the clouds on the morning of the 20th. The two MI-8s were successful and returned to the base, but communication with the MI-24s was lost at 10:36 A.M. Moscow time (0636 GMT). The helicopters carried a total of four crewmembers. At 12:26 p.m. Moscow time (0926 GMT), search and rescue teams left for the suspected crash site, despite poor weather conditions.

That was a bad day for Russian gunships. Another Mi-24 crash landed due to an engine failure near Goluboye Lake (on the Chechen-Dagestani border). The crew was picked up by another MI-24, but for technical reasons had to make a crash landing itself near the Dagestani city of Bolikh. An investigation on those crashes has been started. - Adam Geibel


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