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12 Apr, 2016 07:41

Mi-28N gunship crashes near Homs, both pilots dead – Russian Defense Ministry

Mi-28N gunship crashes near Homs, both pilots dead – Russian Defense Ministry

A Mil Mi-28N Night Hunter attack helicopter has crashed in Syria while performing a flight near the city of Homs, the Defense Ministry’s press-service reports. The ministry says the helicopter was not shot down.

“On April 12 at 01:29 msk a helicopter of Russian Air Force helicopter was involved in an accident, and two crewmen have died,” the ministry said.

Reports from the crash site indicate the helicopter didn’t come under fire, the press service added.

A rescue operation recovered the pilots’ bodies and took them to the Khmemim airbase.

“A group of aircraft accident experts is working at the crash site. The cause of the accident is being investigated,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

“Nobody shot at the aircraft. This is probably a technical failure,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. The Russian president has been briefed on the incident.

The Mil Mi-28N Night Hunter is an all-weather, day-night, two-seater anti-armor attack helicopter armed with 30mm cannon, guided and unguided missiles. It has outstanding night combat capabilities, allowing it to strike several targets simultaneously.

The incident in Syria is the third of its kind in the Mi-28N’s performance history.

On August 2, 2015, a Mi-28N helicopter belonging to the Berkuty (Golden Eagles) aerobatic team performing at the Aviamix air show near Ryazan, Russia, went into flat-attitude spin and crash-landed in a forest next to the airfield, bursting into flames on impact with the ground. One of the two pilots died in the incident.

READ MORE: Helicopter crashes at airshow in Russia, 1 pilot dead (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

The Defense Ministry reported that immediately prior to the crash, the chopper’s emergency alert system reported the failure of the hydraulic boost system.

The first Mi-28N accident occurred in 2011, when an attack helicopter crashed due to engine malfunction. The chief pilot of the gunship died in the crash.