Monday, July 26, 2010

DTN News: Six Israeli Soldiers Die In Romania Helicopter Crash: Report

Defense News: DTN News: Six Israeli Soldiers Die In Romania Helicopter Crash: Report
Source: DTN News / AFP
(NSI News Source Info) BUCHAREST, Romania - July 26, 2010: Six Israelis and one Romanian were killed on Monday when a military helicopter crashed in mountainous terrain in central Romania, local media said, quoting defence sources.
"Rescuers on the scene said there were no survivors," Ciprian Candea of the mountain rescue team based in Brasov told AFP.
But he could not immediately say how many bodies had been found, adding that access to the crash site was extremely difficult.
The defence ministry said six Israeli soldiers and one Romanian were on board the helicopter but did not confirm their deaths.
Defence ministry spokesman Constantin Spanu had previously told AFP one Romanian and two Israeli helicopters were taking part in the search and rescue operation.
Several dozen soldiers were also searching the area, he added.
Witnesses quoted by Antena 3 television channel said they had seen three helicopters flying above the mountain region around the city of Brasov.
"Smoke was coming out of one of the helicopters which started losing altitude," one of the witnesses was quoted as saying.
The helicopter was taking part in a joint military drill, Blue Sky 2010.
On July 18, the defence ministry announced an Israeli CH-53 helicopter participating in this exercise had made a crash landing after "sensing a failure aboard."
"Once the failure was fixed, the helicopter returned safely to the Boboc airbase," the ministry said.
Initial media reports had said US military personnel were on board the helicopter that crashed on Monday.
An Israeli military spokesman confirmed in a statement that a helicopter had gone down with seven people on board -- four pilots, two mechanics and a Romanian.
He did not confirm the death of six Israelis, but said their families had been informed of "the incident."
The statement added that Israel would send an aircraft with medical and search teams on board to Romania.

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