The Russian operator of a United Nations chartered Mi-8 helicopter that crashed on August 26 in South Sudan has been claimed to have been brought down by rebel ground fire, possibly a rocket-propelled-grenade (RPG).
There were three fatalities among the Russian crew with one injured survivor.The helicopter had been contracted from Russian company UTair and was flying a routine mission delivering cargo between Wau in Western Bahr El Ghazal state to Bentiu, the capital of Unity state in southern Sudan.
The UN Mission to Sudan operates Mi-8 helicopters chartered from UTair. Photo courtesy UN Photo/Martine Perret
The downing of the helicopter may be a result of ground fire by rebels who had warned the UN not to overfly territory that they were controlling, said a UTair statement made to the Russian media, although not verified by the UN.
UTair is a long term supplier of chartered helicopters to organizations such as the UN.