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Emergency service officials charged over helicopter crash that killed interior minister

by Martin Fornusek August 3, 2023 2:12 PM 2 min read
Firefighters work near the site of a deadly helicopter crash near a kindergarten in Brovary, Kyiv Oblast, on Jan. 18, 2023. (Photo by Sergei Supinsky/AFP via Getty Images)
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The State Bureau of Investigation (DBR) reported on Aug. 3. that five State Emergency Service officials had been charged with safety violations and negligence regarding the helicopter crash in January that killed Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky, among other victims.

According to the DBR, the suspects include the head of the Emergency Service's Department of Aviation and Air Search and Rescue, its acting commander, the commander of the aviation squadron, the deputy commander for flight training, and the head of the flight safety service of the Special aviation unit from Nizhyn, Chernihiv Oblast.

The crash took place on Jan. 18 in Brovary, a city just east of Kyiv. All 10 people on board were killed, including Monastyrsky, his deputy Yevhen Yenin, and the ministry's secretary Yurii Lubkovych.

The helicopter crashed close to a kindergarten, killing also four women and a child. Some 31 people on the ground, including 13 children, sustained injuries of varying severity, the DBR said.

The investigators decoded the helicopter's black box and managed to reconstruct the event "minute by minute."

The ministry's officials were traveling to Kharkiv and Dnipro oblasts in a helicopter designated only for emergency situations in Kyiv Oblast. Due to unfavorable weather conditions and poor visibility, the helicopter was forced to fly at an extremely low altitude.

The crew did not spot an obstacle in the helicopter's path – a multiple-story building – until the last moment. The attempted evasion maneuver led to the crew commander losing control and crashing the helicopter.

According to the DBR,  the crew did not have appropriate permits to fly in such weather and the commander was not provided data on the meteorological conditions before the flight. The flight safety also failed to abort the trip despite the unsafe conditions, the investigators added.

The four officials of the Emergency Service's Aviation Department were charged with violating flight safety rules, which caused the death of people and large-scale material damage. The head of the flight safety of the same unit was charged with negligence, the DBR said.

The suspects face up to 10 years imprisonment.

How kindergarten morning in Kyiv suburb turned into tragedy
BROVARY, Kyiv Oblast – That early morning on Jan. 18, Iryna Laptinova, a kindergarten teacher in the city of Brovary was getting ready for yet another joyful day of working with children. As usual, she came to work early to prepare the classroom and greet her little students. Many of them
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