A Ukraine Army Mil Mi-8 helicopter of the 16th Separate Army Aviation Brigade crashed under unknown circumstances and burst into flames near Sestriatyn village, Radyvyliv district, Rivne region
All four occupants died in the crash.
After the landing, the helicopter caught fire. At 01:00 a.m. Kyiv time on May 30, the fire was extinguished.
“According to preliminary information, four crew members and the commander of the 16th separate army aviation brigade of the Land Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (the town of Brody, Lviv region) were killed in a [helicopter] crash,” according to the Land Forces’ press service.
The contact with the helicopter was reportedly lost at 23:27 Kyiv time on Wednesday, May 29.
Ukraine’s new President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed his condolences and tasked newly-appointed general staff chief Ruslan Khomchak with overseeing the investigation.
“Our army should not be losing people during games and drills,” the 41-year-old president was quoted as saying by his office.
Rescue services and law enforcement agencies are working at the scene. A commission made up of representatives of the Defense Ministry, the General Staff and the Ground Forces command is heading to the site.
An investigation into the cause of the accident is underway.
Ukraine inducted four refurbished helicopters back into service in December.
A Soviet-era workhorse first built in the 1960s, the Mi-8 helicopter is widely used to transport passengers and supplies to remote sites.
It has been involved in a number of recent accidents. In August last year, 18 people were killed in a crash in Siberia.
In March, a Kazakhstan Mi-8 helicopter crashed in Kyzylorda Oblast, killing all 13 service members on board.
See Details: All 13 People On Board Killed in Kazakhstan Air Force Mil Mi-8 Helicopter crash
A month earlier, three crew members were killed when an Ethiopian Mi-8 crashed inside a United Nations compound in the disputed region between Sudan and South Sudan.
See Details: Mil Mi-8 helicopter carrying 23 troops crashed in United Nations compound, three killed