A military helicopter Mi-8MTV crashed in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan on July 9. There were 15 people — nine tourists, one interpreter and five crew members — on board.
Six people were injured in the crash — three servicemen and three civilians. The servicemen were taken to the military hospital of the State Committee for Defense Affairs, and the injured tourists — to the Bishkek Scientific Research Center for Traumatology and Orthopedics.
24.kg news agency tried to restore the chronicle of the crash.
The wind is to blame
The information provided by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Kyrgyz Republic and the travel firm Ak-Sai Travel do not coincide. The military agency could not explain what the tourists did on the military board and why the helicopter lost altitude.
According to Gulzat Dzharasheva, the head of the Information Department of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Kyrgyz pilots carried, in addition to tourists, food and medicines.
«The helicopter fell to the left side during landing because of the strong gust of wind,» Gulzat Dzharasheva told.
The head of the press service does not know why the tourists were on board and where they should be helped down.
«An organization contacted us through the Ministry of Culture, Information and Tourism that asked for urgent delivery of necessary medicines and cargo to South Inylchek. We carry out this task. The organization is called Ak-Sai Travel. Address all the questions to it. Ask the company what the tourists did there,» added Gulzat Dzharasheva.
It turned out that the tourists, who did not need medical help, decided to take pictures while the pilots unloaded everything necessary for the people stuck in the mountains.
Apart from the crew, four citizens of Poland, three Japanese nationals, two citizens of Germany and one Kyrgyz citizen (interpreter) were aboard.
«The task was to deliver the cargo: medicines, fuel and food. The tourists on board were not injured. They were to be transported to South Inylchek. While the helicopter was unloaded, they wanted to take photos and fly back,» the head of the company Ak-Sai travel Elena Kalashnikova told.
She told that the crew members picked up the civilians in Char-Kuduk area where the base camp is located. All the tourists are delivered to South Inylchek from there.
Rescue of tourists in the mountains is expensive. Ak-Sai Travel pays to the General Staff for evacuation services about 40 percent of the total amount coming to the agency from the travel firm.
One hour of flight costs $ 2,500. This amount includes aviation kerosene, parking and fuel delivery.
«We have signed a contract with the General Staff in 2000. This contract is extended annually. The money is transferred,» said Elena Kalashnikova.
The head of the travel agency did not voice the exact amount that the military receive for cooperation with the private company.
According to 24.kg news agency information, the General Staff of the Armed Forces receives about 40,000 soms per hour of a flight.
The General Staff insists: there is an order of the government, according to which the department is obliged to perform certain types of aviation works, if they does not cause damage.
Gulzat Dzharasheva, the head of the Information Department, said that the document No. 610r was issued on December 31, 2012. However, she refused to show the document confirming the military’s cooperation with the private company and advised journalists to look for evidence of the legitimacy and validity of the military’s actions.
«We have this decree. We are not concerned how you will find it,» said Gulzat Dzharasheva.
24.kg news agency found out that the document states: the use of military aircrafts of the Ministry of Defense is permitted in order to save money.
«In accordance with the Air Code and the government decree «On Approval of the Aviation Rules,» in order to save budgetary funds, the Ministry of Defense of Kyrgyzstan is allowed to use the aircrafts, without causing damage to combat readiness, aviation units, or aviation equipment according to the appendix to the order. It is permitted to carry out special aiviation works in the field of agriculture, construction, tourism, photography or topographical work, surveillance or patrolling, in search or rescue work. The appendix lists the aircrafts,» the document says.
But there is one discrepancy. There is no Ministry of Defense in Kyrgyzstan for some time now.
But the list includes the same helicopter that fell in the mountains. The then Prime Minister Zhantoro Satybaldiev signed the decree.
It is worth noting that an important point in the order is «carrying out of works without causing damage to the country’s combat readiness.» Mi-8MTV helicopter that fell in the mountains is beyond repair. It was left on South Inylchek.
This means that the country lost one helicopter, and this is already a considerable damage.