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September 25, 2021

Official task force set up after medevac helicopter crashes; all EC 135 aircraft, grounded

Romania’s Interior Ministry (MAI) has set up a task force following the crash in Moldova of a medevac helicopter operated by Mobile Emergency Service for Resuscitation and Extrication (SMURD), MAI Spokesperson Monica Dajbog said Thursday. She added that the accident left four dead – a pilot, a copilot, a doctor and a nurse.

She said all the EC 135 helicopters will be grounded.

”Around 14:20hrs, Moldova’s Aeronautical Authority informed the Operational Centre of the MAI Special Aviation Unit in Iasi that it lost radio contact with the SMURD helicopter operating in Moldova under a cross-border emergency medicine cooperation agreement. MAI immediately set up the task force to manage the situation,” the spokesperson said.

She added that at 15:00hrs, forces at the scene confirmed that the wreckage of the helicopter was found in a forested area of Haragas, district of Cantemir, Moldova, and the four people aboard were dead.

“What I can tell you about the aircraft is that it is an EC 135 aircraft, registration number 347, manufactured in August 2014, which last inspection was conducted in February 2016. There were four people aboard a pilot, a copilot, a doctor and a nurse. The pilot was vastly experienced, with 4,181 hours of flying a helicopter, while the copilot had an experience of 1,480 hours of flying. The doctor had a five-year experience working on SMURD helicopters, and the nurse had been working with SMURD for 11 years. (…) It has been decided that all 135 aircraft will be grounded,” Dajbog told a news conference.

She added that Romania’s Interior Minister Petre Toba made available to Moldova’s authorities resources of the Romanian Police to take part in an inquiry into this aircraft accident.

“After the confirmation of the aircraft accident, Minister Petre Toba called his Moldovan counterpart Alexandru Jizdan, who reconfirmed the accident and the death of the crew. Minister Petre Toba has made available to Moldova’s authorities resources of the Romanian Police to take part in an inquiry into this aircraft accident. At the same time, he informed Romania’s Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos about the accident and ordered head of the Emergency Department (DSU) Raed Arafat to go to Moldova,” said Dajbog, according to Agerpres.

The MAI task force will stay active and in contact with Moldova’s authorities involved in the investigation of the aircraft accident.

“Investigation at the scene is coordinated by Moldova’s acting prosecutor general and head of Moldova’s National Police. MAI is currently notifying the families of the four deceased crew members, for which teams of psychologists and officers of the Iasi County Police Inspectorate have been established.”

She added that the helicopter was acting to save a 64-year-old who has suffered a stroke.

”At 09:55hrs, the aircraft took off from Iasi to Vulcanesti, Moldova, where it landed at 11:00hrs. At 11:30hrs, it took over an 85-ear-old woman suffering from bronchopneumonia and flew her to Chisinau. After handing over the patient, the helicopter refuelled and took off again around 13:10 for Cahul in another rescue mission to save a 64-year-old stroke patient. The crash occurred before the helicopter reached the patient,” said Dajbog.


PM Ciolos, Moldovan counterpart discuss joint investigation


Premier Dacian Ciolos and his Moldovan counterpart Pavel Filip discussed on Thursday the initiation of a joint investigation into the crash in the Republic of Moldova of a helicopter operated by the Mobile Emergency Resuscitation and Extrication Service (SMURD), Government spokesman Dan Suciu told Agerpres.

According to Suciu, the two heads of government discussed the “preparatory elements for a joint investigation.”

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