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Five emergency service workers declared suspects in Brovary helicopter crash

The crew was not informed about the difficult meteorological conditions along the route, and none of the officials responsible for flight safety rescheduled the flight.

Five emergency service workers declared suspects in Brovary helicopter crash
Photo: collage

Five State Emergency Service officials are suspected of violating flight safety rules with regard to the helicopter carrying Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyy and other Interior Ministry officials. The minister, his first deputy Yevhen Yenin, State Secretary Yuriy Lubkovych, the head of the patronage service, Tetyana Shutyak, security guards and photographers – a total of 10 people on board – died as a result of the helicopter crash in Brovary on 18 January 2023.

According to the investigation, the officials blatantly violated traffic safety and air transport operation rules, which led to the deaths. Investigators traced back the day of the crash minute by minute, the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) said.

The suspects include:

· the head of the Aviation and Air Search and Rescue Department of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, the acting unit commander

· the deputy commander for flight training

· the commander of the aviation squadron

· the head of the Flight Safety Service of the Special Aviation Detachment of the Civil Protection Operational and Rescue Service of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine in Nizhyn, Chernihiv Region.

The Interior Ministry leadership was to fly to Kharkiv and Dnipro regions. Despite the warnings of internal instructions and legal requirements, SES officials used a helicopter that was on duty to respond to potential emergencies in Kyiv and the region to transport the delegation. The aircraft had no permits for other types of flights.

"During the preparation for the flight, the crew commander was not informed about the meteorological data along the entire route of the planned movement, in particular, about the extremely unfavourable weather conditions over the city of Brovary. The crew itself did not have the appropriate permits to fly in difficult weather conditions and the necessary certificates. However, none of the officials responsible for flight safety cancelled the flight or postponed it until favourable weather conditions," the SBI said.

According to the investigation, due to difficult weather conditions, the helicopter had to fly at an extremely low altitude, even lower than the height of the buildings on the route. The crew commander saw an obstacle - a multi-storey building - and began to perform a circling manoeuvre, but picked the height sharply, lost orientation in space and, due to a lack of skills, collided with the ground at the end of the manoeuvre. The helicopter damaged a kindergarten, neighbouring buildings and parked cars.

In addition to the senior officials of the Interior Ministry, four women and a young child were killed as they were entering the kindergarten. Thirty-one people, including 13 children, sustained injuries of varying severity.

Initially, one of the versions of the plane crash that was considered was deliberate damage to the helicopter. The president argued that the crash was a consequence of the war, as the Interior Ministry leadership was flying to the frontline.

At the end of July, SBI investigators dismissed the versions of sabotage and attempted murder of the Interior Ministry officials.

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