DH - Defence Helicopter

Ten dead in Colombia military helicopter crash

16th January 2018 - 19:12 GMT | by ‚ÄčAgence France-Presse in Bogota

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Ten people were killed when a military helicopter crashed in a remote area of northwestern Colombia on 16 January, the military said.

The Russian-made MI-17 aircraft was carrying six passengers and four crew when it came down, according to a military statement.

'For us, it is very painful to confirm at this time that the 10 occupants of the aircraft have died,' Army commander Gen Ricardo Gomez said on Twitter.

The authorities had earlier put the toll at seven dead and three missing, but confirmed after rescuers reached the scene that all aboard had perished.

'Our troops are in the area carrying out work to recover the crew and passengers and investigators have begun to determine the cause,' defence minister Luis Carlos Villegas said on social media.

Authorities gave no cause for the crash. 

The helicopter was overflying a region used by narcotraffickers and National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels, though there were no suggestions the crash had been caused deliberately.

'Most likely it was due to bad weather,' a military official told AFP on condition of anonymity, saying the weather was squally and cloudy at the time.

The army said two of the passengers were part of a military aviation fuel maintenance team flying between Caucasia and Segovia in the northern Antioquia department.

In October 2017, 10 people aboard a US-made Huey II were injured when it came down in Bello, Antioquia.

In June 2016, another military helicopter crash killed 17 soldiers in an accident in central Colombia attributed to bad weather.

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