UN confirms death of four crew members in helicopter accident in eastern DR Congo

Aerial view of South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Photo: MONUSCO/Sylvain Liechti

12 March 2013 – The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today confirmed the death of four crew members on board one of its helicopters that crashed on Saturday in the eastern province of South Kivu.

An investigation is under way into the cause of the accident, the mission – known by its French acronym MONUSCO – stated in a news release.

The helicopter’s wreckage was located on Sunday, some 20 kilometres west of the city of Bukavu, but severe weather conditions and the difficult terrain hampered the rescue operation. It went missing on Saturday when it was returning to Bukavu after a mission in Shabunda.

The death of the crew members, all Russian nationals, was confirmed earlier today when a team from MONUSCO reached the crash site.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced his deep sorrow at learning of the death of the crew members.

“The Secretary-General offers his sincerest condolences and sympathy to the families and friends of the victims, and to the Government of the Russian Federation,” said a statement issued by his spokesperson.

Mr. Ban’s Special Representative and head of MONUSCO, Roger Meece, expressed his condolences for the death of the four crew members to the Russian Ambassador in DRC.


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