2007 Paramount Airlines Mil Mi-8 crash

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2007 Paramount Airlines helicopter crash
9l-lbt.jpg
A Paramount Airlines Mil Mi-8 identical to the one involved in the incident.
Accident summary
Date 3 June 2007
Summary Mechanical failure
Site Lungi, Sierra Leone
Passengers 20
Crew 2
Fatalities 22
Injuries (non-fatal) 0
Survivors 1
Aircraft type Mil Mi-8[1]
Operator Paramount Airlines

On 3 June 2007 a Mil Mi-8 helicopter operated by Paramount Airlines crashed near Lungi International Airport in Sierra Leone, killing approximately 20 to 22 people.

Background

In 2007, helicopter, hovercraft, and sea ferry were the only practical ways to travel between the airport and the capital, Freetown, which are separated by the Sierra Leone River as it meets the Atlantic Ocean.[2]

The passengers on board were Togolese football fans who were returning from watching their national team play that of Sierra Leone, and the two pilots were of Ukrainian origin. The passengers had chartered the aircraft specifically for the flight.[1]

Crash and emergency response

According to an eyewitness, both pilots jumped out immediately prior to the crash.[2] Later reports stated that 22 were killed, and that the Russian copilot was the only survivor.[3] The aircraft caught fire upon impact and was destroyed before firefighters were able to extinguish the flames.[2] According to airport witnesses the firefighters did not attend the scene until 40 minutes after the crash. The firefighter who had the keys to the fire truck was not at his station in the airport at the time. Airport staff had to douse the flames with buckets of water.

Investigation

The government of Togo sent a six-person delegation to help with the investigation into the crash. The majority of the dead were identified as Togolese football fans who had come to cheer their team's 1–0 victory over Sierra Leone at an African Cup of Nations qualifying match on Sunday. They included Togolese politician Richard Attipoe who was serving as Togo's minister of sports.[3]

Sierra Leone's Minister of transport and communications Dr Prince Harding as well as the two top aviation officials in the country lost their jobs as a result of the crash and a commission of enquiry has been set up.[citation needed]

References

  1. ^ a b Sierra Leone air crash kills 19BBC News – Published 4 June. Retrieved 7 June 2007.
  2. ^ a b c Crash in Sierra Leone kills at least 20. Macon.com. Published 3 June 2007. Retrieved 7 June 2007.
  3. ^ a b Togo awaiting report on Freetown helicopter crash. People's Daily. 31 July 2007.

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