12 killed as Ukraine helicopter crashes in Black Sea

March 28th, 2008 - 12:29 am ICT by admin  

Kiev, March 27 (DPA) A Ukrainian helicopter crashed in the Black Sea Thursday killing 12 people and leaving only one survivor, officials at Ukraine’s Border Troops command said. It happened in the northwestern Black Sea, near the mouth of the Danube river.

A total 13 people, three flight crew and 10 passengers, had been aboard the aircraft at the time of the crash. Eleven of the dead were border security staff, and other person killed was a civilian.

The identity of the single survivor was not immediately made public.

The Ukrainian border troops Mi-8 helicopter had been carrying personnel and two tonnes of supplies to Zmeyniy Island, a rocky outcrop some 60 km south of the Danube’s mouth.

The flight from the mainland to Zmeyniy Island by Mi-8 lasts approximately 45 minutes. It was not clear when exactly, or for what reason, the helicopter had crashed.

The downed helicopter was visible in shallow water, and had apparently almost reached the island before hitting the water, witnesses said.

Two motor launches and a pair of helicopters participated in a search of the area.

Ukraine has seen unsettled weather in recent days, with snows even in lowlands and temperatures hovering slightly above freezing, alternating with sunny weather with temperatures at 10-13 degrees centigrade.

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