Pilot killed as Bulgarian military helicopter crashes
June 09 2017 08:00 PM
Panther-565 helicopter
A Panther-565 helicopter

AFP/Sofia

A Bulgarian military helicopter plunged into the Black Sea on Friday, killing the pilot and injuring the co-pilot and the mechanic, the defence ministry said.

The Panther-565 helicopter crashed during military exercises not far from the Bulgarian coast north of the port of Varna.
The cause of the accident was not immediately known but Bulgarian President Rumen Radev, a former airforce chief, blamed insufficient flight time in part.
"Whatever the immediate cause, I can tell you one thing -- the crew's flight hours were three to four times less than the NATO standard for a safe minimum of 180 (hours a year)," Radev told private broadcaster bTV in an interview.
"All our pilots fly far below this standard and as airforce commander I have alerted many times that we fly dangerously little," he added.



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