Mechanical failure, bad weather possible causes of helicopter crash in Moldova: official

Xinhua News Agency


Technical malfunction or bad weather could be the causes of the crash of a Romanian medevac helicopter in Moldova, said Moldova's first deputy Prosecutor General Eduard Harunjen late Thursday.

According to the Moldovan official, villagers had heard two loud bangs before the crash, which could possibly explain the technical malfunction version.

Meanwhile, there was pouring rain in Haragas village where the tragedy happened. Thick fog also made the visibility bad when the helicopter crashed.

A pilot, a copilot, a doctor and a nurse were aboard the helicopter, which was operated by the SMURD emergency rescue service based in Romania.

The helicopter was on its way to Cahul to pick up a patient to Chisinau, the capital of Moldova.

Currently, there is a working group made of representatives of the Prosecutor General's Office and the Moldovan Interior Ministry, Harunjen told local media, adding that "experts are going to get the helicopter's black box and establish the exact cause of the accident."

At the same time, Romania sent a specialist team to Moldova on late Thursday to participate in the on-site investigation, said the Interior Ministry in Bucharest.

The helicopter, an EC135, was built in August 2014. The 53-year-old pilot had 4,181 hours of flight experience. The crew belonged to the local SMURD department from Iasi city, near the northeastern border of Romania with Moldova.

According to the Romanian Interior Ministry, Thursday's mission was the helicopter's twelfth in Moldova under a cross-border emergency medicine cooperation agreement.