27 Nov 2023 19:59

Safety rules breach behind helicopter crash that killed Ukrainian interior minister - investigators

MOSCOW. Nov 27 (Interfax) - The State Bureau of Investigation of Ukraine has completed an investigation into the helicopter crash on January 18, 2023 in Brovary, Kiev region, which killed the Interior Ministry leadership, and provided the case materials for the suspects and their lawyers, as well as the injured parties and their legal representatives to study them.

"The investigators established that the officials committed evident violations of the safety rules of the air traffic and operating the aircraft, which resulted in human deaths," Ukrainian media reported, quoting a statement on the bureau's website as saying on Monday.

Investigators rebuilt the day of the accident minute by minute, in particular, deciphering the flight recorders of the crashed helicopter, and engaged foreign experts and representatives of the French company that built the helicopter.

"It was established that the Ukrainian Interior Ministry leadership was scheduled to visit the Kharkov and Dnepropetrovsk regions in January 2023. Despite the warning of internal instructions and legal requirements, officials of the State Emergency Situations Service involved a helicopter that was on duty to respond to possible emergencies in Kiev and the Kiev region to transport the delegation. The aircraft did not have authorization documents for other types of flights," the statement said.

In preparation for the flight, the crew commander was not informed of the meteorological data on the scheduled route, and the crew lacked the appropriate permits for flights in inclement weather, but none of the officials canceled the departure or postponed it until more favorable weather conditions.

"Due to adverse weather conditions, the helicopter had to fly at an extremely low altitude, which is even lower than the height of the buildings on its route. The crew commander saw an obstacle, which was a multi-store building, and started to perform an overflight maneuver, however, he got up sharply, lost orientation in space and allowed a crash onto the ground when completing the maneuver due to the lack of required skills. When falling the helicopter damaged a kindergarten, nearby buildings and parked cars," the investigators said.

The case materials will be submitted to the court after the said litigating parties familiarize themselves with them.

As reported, a State Emergency Situations Service helicopter, which was carrying nine persons, including the Interior Ministry leadership, crashed onto the ground near the kindergarten in Brovary in the morning on January 18. In particular, Ukrainian Interior Minister Denis Monastyrsky, his first deputy Yevgeny Yenin, Interior Ministry State Secretary Yury Lubkovich were killed in the crash in the line of duty. In total, 14 persons were killed, including all those in the helicopter and five persons on the ground, including one child. Twenty-five people, including 11 children, were injured in the incident.

Five officials of the State Emergency Situations Service were later identified as suspects in the crash under Part 3 of Article 276 and Part 2 of Article 367 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (breach of flight safety rules, which resulted in casualties and severe material damage; official negligence, which entailed grave consequences). The head of the Aviation and Aviation Search and Rescue Department of the Ukrainian State Emergency Situations Service, acting commander of the unit, deputy commander for flight training, commander of the air squadron, and the head of the flight safety service of the Special Aviation Unit of the Rescue and Civil Protection Service of the Ukrainian State Emergency Situations Service from the city of Nezhin, Chernigov region, are identified among those suspected.