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Eight crew members die as army helicopter, fighter jet, crash in Romania



Eight military personnel have all died after their army helicopter and fighter jet crashed separately in eastern Romania near the Black Sea, in what the country’s ministry of defence has termed the :worst day of air force accidents in recent years.

According to Romanian ministry of defence, the IAR 330 Puma helicopter crashed on Wednesday evening in the area of Gura Dobrogei, 11km from the airfield, killing all seven on board.

“It was searching for the MiG-21 LanceR, shortly after the fighter jet – part of a formation of two MiG-21 LanceR planes performing air patrol missions – lost contact and disappeared from the radar,” the statement reads.

Later on Wednesday, the fighter jet was also found, having crashed near Cogealac, an uninhabited area near the Black Sea, with the 31-year-old pilot found dead as well, it added.

“It is premature to discuss possible causes. Certainly, there were unfavourable weather conditions, but we can’t comment now,” military spokesman, General Constantin Spanu said on local television.

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“The helicopter pilot had reported adverse weather conditions and had been ordered to return to base.

“All IAR 330 Puma and MiG LanceR aircraft will be grounded while the cause of the crash is under investigation,” Spanu said.

President Klaus Iohannis in a statement on Wednesday evening, sent his “thoughts to the bereaved families” of the crash victims on what he called “a tragic night for Romanian aviation”.

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