Helicopter crashes in Romania with 6 Israelis, 1 Romanian on board; no details on survivors

Monday, July 26, 2010

Officials: Israeli helicopter crashes in Romania

BUCHAREST, Romania — A helicopter carrying one Romanian and six Israeli soldiers crashed Monday in mountainous terrain during joint military training, the Romanian defense ministry said.

There is no information on whether there are survivors, Defense Ministry spokesman Constantin Spanu said. Officials were scrambling to reach the accident site near the central Romanian town of Zarnesti, some 120 kilometers (75 miles) northwest of Bucharest, he said.

Spanu said the Israeli transport helicopter CH-53 was flying at low altitude and lost radio contact mid-afternoon Monday.

The ministry said the cause of the crash was still unknown, but Defense Minister Gabriel Oprea has ordered an investigation and sent officials to the area.

A Romanian medical evacuation helicopter and two Israeli helicopters were trying to locate the crash site.

Earlier this month, the ministry reported that an Israeli CH-53 made an emergency landing on July 18 due to unspecified technical problems.

Romanian and Israeli troops are taking part in Blue Sky 2010, 11-day joint aviation exercises in which troops are trained to fly at low altitude in search, rescue and medical evacuation exercises.

The Israeli military spokesman’s office said only that it was looking into the report

will not be displayed