On 19 July 2009, a civilian helicopter chartered by NATO crashed while taking off from Kandahar International Airport. 16 were killed. The helicopter was not under enemy fire.
The Helicopter and the Crash
NATO chartered the Russian-built, Mil Mi-8 transport helicopter from a Russian company called Vertical-T. The dead were all civilians.
The helicopter crashed at Kandahar International Airport, apparently while trying to take off, on 19 July 2009. The airport is NATO’s operating base in southern Afghanistan. NATO released a statement saying that while the cause of the crash remains unknown, hostile fire has been ruled out.
A NATO statement released said that 16 civilians had been killed in the crash and that five were wounded. According to NATO, no military personnel were killed or injured in this crash. Russian news agency Interfax stated that there were 20 people aboard the craft when it went down. Interfax has stated that three crew members and two passengers survived the crash. The discrepancy in the death counts remains unexplained.
According to Captain Glen Parent, spokesman for the NATO force in Kandahar, the Mi-8 transport helicopter can seat as many as 24 people. Helicopters such as these ferry civilian contractors and supplies from Kandahar to the many military outposts across the country.
The Second Crash In A Week
The crash of the NATO-chartered Mi-8 transport helicopter at Kandahar International Airport in Afghanistan is the second helicopter crash to occur within a week’s time in that country. Earlier in the week, a US military chopper crashed while making an emergency landing in Kunar province. No enemy fire was reported near the scene.