7 killed in Serbian military helicopter crash
14 March 2015, 17:19
Belgrade - A Serbian military helicopter crashed near
Belgrade while evacuating a sick baby from south of the country, killing all
seven people on board, officials said on Saturday.
The defence ministry said no one survived the crash late on
Friday night near Belgrade's international airport, about 30km west of the
Serbia's state TV said the Russian-made MI-17 transport
helicopter had four crew members, two medical workers and the 5-day-old baby
with life-threatening respiratory problems.
The crash occurred in foggy weather, which had caused
several commercial flights to be rerouted to other destinations.
The military said all contact with the aircraft was lost
at 22:31 on Friday after it apparently tried to make an emergency landing while
running out of fuel near the airport.
Floodlights at two of Belgrade's biggest soccer stadiums
were lit to help the pilots to find a spot to land.
The helicopter was dispatched to the southern region of
Raska after an ambulance transporting the baby to an emergency hospital in
Belgrade got stuck by a landslide blocking the road.
Serbia's Defence Minister Bratislav Gasic said the
chopper was the only one in the army with advanced medevac equipment.
He called the killed pilots "the best" the army
Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic called for a day
of mourning and offered condolences to the families of the victims.