Four Dead in Slovak Bell 429 Crash

By S.L. Fuller | September 8, 2016
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A Bell Helicopter 429 crashed in central Slovakia Wednesday night while on a medical transport mission. All four onboard were killed. 

Details about a possible cause for the crash have not yet been released, but Slovak news outlets have reported that witnesses heard the helicopter making strange noises before it crashed.

Rescuers at the scene recovered the bodies of the pilot, the doctor, the paramedic and the patient early Thursday morning.


The 429 responded to a call when a 38-yr-old man needed medical transport after incurring a leg injury. The pick-up site was located in difficult terrain. The helicopter was new and equipped for rappelling in difficult terrain, while the pilot, 50-yr-old John Rusin, had more than 4,600 hr of flight time before the deadly crash.

Witnesses told Slovak news outlets that within 10 min of takeoff, the helicopter started making strange noises. Then there was an explosion-like sound resulting in the crash.

This incident is preceded by a Bell 429 crash-landing on Jan. 1 in the Rostov region in Russia.  Two pilots were put into the intensive care unit as a result.

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