NewsInvestigation reveals cause of fatal helicopter crash in Kiev

Investigation reveals cause of fatal helicopter crash in Kiev

The body of one of the victims of the helicopter crash in Browary
The body of one of the victims of the helicopter crash in Browary
Images source: © PAP | Vladyslav Musiienko
ed. MMIK

8:02 PM EST, November 27, 2023

The Ukrainian State Bureau of Investigation (DBR) has completed the investigation into the Eurocopter Super Puma helicopter crash that occurred in Browary, near Kiev. The crash resulted in the death of the Head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, Denys Monastyrsky. The cause of the crash has now been identified.

In a statement released on Monday, the DBR reconfirmed its initial findings. "Investigators determined that officials blatantly violated traffic safety regulations and aviation operational procedures, leading to fatalities," reads the Polish Press Agency.

Disregard for Instructions

Investigators placed emphasis on a meticulous reconstruction of the sequence of events preceding the accident. They analyzed recorded data from the helicopter's black boxes and sought expert opinions from abroad, including representatives of the French helicopter manufacturer.

The DBR found fault in the planning stages of Monastyrsky's visit to the Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk regions in January 2023. Officials from the State Emergency Service (DSNS) disregarded received instructions. They opted to use the standby helicopter, meant for urgent incidents in Kiev and the surrounding regions. The report highlighted that "the aircraft lacked the documents required to conduct alternative types of flights."

Hazardous Weather Conditions Ignored

The investigation disclosed that the helicopter crew was uninformed about the prevailing weather conditions. The crew also lacked the necessary clearances to fly under challenging weather circumstances. Nevertheless, all officers involved failed to exert the decision to cancel or delay the minister's visit.

"Due to the severe weather conditions, the helicopter was forced to fly at an unusually low altitude, even below structures situated along the flight path. The crew leader spotted an impediment, a multi-story building, and began an evasive maneuver. This sudden ascension caused a loss of orientation, and a subsequent crash upon completion of the maneuver due to the lack of necessary skills," the DBR statement explained.

The investigation's conclusion will allow any individuals with suspect status to review the case files.

Post-Disaster Charges

It was reported in August that five representatives of the DSNS face criminal charges, which includes the head of the aviation department, the DSNS air rescue operations, and the head of the service's air squadron.

The officials, accused of dereliction of their professional duties, may confront a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

The helicopter incident in Browary, in the Kiev agglomeration, occurred on January 18. The helicopter collided with a preschool building, causing a total of 15 fatalities, 10 on board and five on the ground, and injuring 31 people.

Among the victims were Minister Monastyrsky and his two deputies: Yevheniy Yenin and Yuriy Lubkovich.

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