17 killed in Russian-made helicopter crash in Venezuela
Mi-35   /  Photo: www.forums.airbase.ru

17 killed in Russian-made helicopter crash in Venezuela

4 May, 01:47 PM

A Mi-35 military helicopter crash has killed 18 Venezuelan soldiers, who were patrolling Venezuela's border with Colombia.

The soldiers were patrolling the 2,300-kilometer border on Sunday when the local military base lost contact with the Russian-made Mi-35 helicopter shortly after midday, AP said. The military helicopter crashed near the town of El Alto de Rubio, the state-run Bolivarian News Agency reported.

Neither President Hugo Chavez nor the Venezuelan military mentioned the cause of the crash.

Two pilots and the entire crew were killed. Army Brig. Gen. Domingo Alberto Feneite was among the victims.

Chavez sent condolences to the families of the victims. "They died while they were on duty and serving the fatherland," he said.

Chavez also referred to US allegations that his government has failed to prevent border incursions by Colombian rebels and right-wing paramilitaries.

"They say that we don't fight terrorism, and 18 soldiers die patrolling the border," Chavez said.

Russia delivered Mi-35 Hind E attack helicopters to Venezuela under the $3.4 billion contract in 2005-2006, along with 24 Su-30MK2V Flanker fighters, Tor-M1 air defense missile systems, and Mi-26 Halo heavy transport helicopters.


Tags: aircrafts, accidents, Venezuela, helicopters

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