Eight people died when a Georgia Border Police helicopter crashed during a rescue operation in the north of the country last Friday, July 29.
Several people watching the rescue work recorded on video, terrified, the sad moment when the large Mi-8 helicopter lost control and went down spinning:
The Mi-8 is a project developed in the 1960s by the Soviet Union and still produced in Russia to the present. It has a length of 18.4 meters, a main rotor diameter of 21.29 meters and a capacity for 24 passengers.
In a statement issued later that day, the police described the accident as follows:
“Today near Gudauri, while flying with a paraglider, 2 people fell on a rocky slope. The rescue operation involved a Border Police helicopter that lost control and crashed during the event.
At this time, according to the information, the helicopter had 4 crew members, in addition to 2 from the emergency management services of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Health, Emergency Coordination and Emergency Response, and 2 doctors from the center of Arabi.
The Ministry of the Interior continues operations to rescue the paragliding instructor, fellow passengers and people aboard the helicopter.
An investigation into violation of air transport operating rules is ongoing under article 275 of the Georgia Penal Code.”
Later, Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri confirmed that eight people died and one person was injured, as well as a foreign tourist, for whom the rescue operation was being carried out, also died.
According to the local portal Civil.ge, the minister visited the accident site and spoke of the need to tighten licensing regulations for paraglider pilots, complaining about the frequent accidents in the area. He promised immediate investigation into the reasons for the helicopter crash.
Due to the tragic occurrence, the following day was declared a day of mourning in the country, according to a new statement issued by the Border Police, accompanied by images of flags at half-mast:
“For the loss of the government, July 30, 2022 has been declared a day of mourning in Georgia.
In honor of the crew members, first responders and doctors killed in the Ministry of Internal Affairs accident in Gudauri, state flags are not allowed in all administrative buildings of the Ministry of Interior Affairs.
A helicopter belonging to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which was carried out to rescue paragliders in Gudauri, lost control yesterday and crashed, killing eight people on board.
Rescue and search operations were ongoing for several hours at the site. Right now, the bodies of those who died as a result of the tragedy are being buried.”