BFF-75 Three climbers, two crew die in Tajikistan helicopter crash

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TAJIKISTAN-ACCIDENT-HELICOPTER LEAD

Three climbers, two crew die in Tajikistan helicopter crash

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan, Aug 13, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Three Russian climbers and
two Tajik crew members have died in a helicopter “hard landing” in
Tajikistan’s remote mountainous region, emergency services said Monday.

Twelve other climbers and a third crew member survived the accident, which
took place on Sunday at 1130 GMT, and were evacuated from the site for
medical treatment, authorities said.

Of the 12 surviving climbers, all are Russian except for a Belarusian and a
Spanish national.

The site where the Mi-8 chopper crashed is some 480 kilometres (300 miles)
east of the capital Dushanbe in the Pamir range, a key tourist destination.

Emergency services said the climbers had been climbing the Ismoili Somoni
mountain, which was once known as Peak Communism and used to be the highest
in the Soviet Union.

The accident comes two weeks after four Western cyclist tourists were
killed in an attack initially reported as a hit-and-run road accident,
striking a blow to Tajikistan’s emerging tourism sector.

The attack that saw the tourists rammed with a car before being attacked
with knives was claimed by the Islamic State group, although the
authoritarian government refused to acknowledge the group’s claim.

The cyclists – two Americans, one Swiss citizen and one Dutch citizen, had
been travelling through the Pamirs, which are often referred to as “the roof
of the world”.

BSS/AFP/ARS/1945 hrs