The Mil Mi-8 helicopter belonging to the Russian Special Flight Detachment ‘Rossiya’ has crashed in Moscow’s Vnukovo international airport (VKO) on January 27, 2023.
According to Russian media, the helicopter crashed during landing, resulting in several casualties.
The Special Flight Detachment ‘Rossiya’ is a company that operates a fleet of VIP aircraft used for transporting Russian government officials, including the country’s president Vladimir Putin.
According to Russian news agency Interfax, the helicopter struck the ground with its blades and tail while landing.
Interfax also quotes emergency services as saying that the accident resulted in casualties. However, the airport authorities have denied that anybody was harmed in the crash, Interfax added.
Russian Telegram channel Mash shared a photo of what it claims to be the aftermath of the crash. In it, a Mi-8 helicopter in the livery of ‘Rossiya’ can be seen. The helicopter’s tail rotor blades appear to have been sheared off.
In Mash’s photo, the tail number of the helicopter is blurred away. Data from Adsbexchange.com shows only three AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters of ‘Rossiya’ conducting flights around VKO between the morning and afternoon of January 27, meaning that the Mi-8 in question most likely flew with its transponder turned off.
‘Rossiya’ operates 15 Mil Mi-6MTV helicopters fitted with special defensive suites and other modifications to carry important government officials. The helicopters can be routinely seen carrying Putin to various visits around the country, complementing his fleet of Il-96 long-range airliners and other jets.