Romania says preliminary analysis shows that human and environmental factors are behind the double crash of March 2, 2022, when a Puma helicopter crashed while searching for a missing MiG-21 fighter.
The MiG-21 LanceR fighter of the Romanian Air Force (RoAF) disappeared from radar screens shortly after taking off from the 86th Air Base located near Borcea, southeast Romania, on the evening of March 2, 2022. The IAR 330 Puma search and rescue helicopter was then sent out from the 57th Air Base, in the coastal city of Constanța, carrying a crew of five and two rescuers.
However, the helicopter crashed near Gura Dobrogei, killing all on board. The MiG-21 wreckage was located near Cogealac and its pilot was also pronounced dead.
Technical investigations commissions have analyzed data from flight recorders, the wreckage, radio calls and weather to gather information as to the probable causes, the Romanian Ministry of National Defence said in a statement on March 24, 2022.
“…The commissions concluded that both events were most likely due to a combination of human and environmental factors, the share of which is to be determined at the end of the investigation procedures,” the statement said.
Air accidents are usually the result of a combination of events. Environmental factors typically refer to weather, such as thunderstorms or icing.
The Ministry of National Defence added in its statement that the General Staff of the Air Force has reviewed and updated operating procedures, carried out training and performed technical checks on all variants of MiG-21 and IAR 330 aircraft.
“Following the application of these measures, the resumption of flight missions with the MiG-21 LanceR and IAR-330 aircraft, all variants, was authorized,” according to the statement.
The investigation into the double crash continues under the coordination of the Military Prosecutor’s Office and the Bucharest Military Tribunal. The statement did not say when a final report into the causes is expected.