9 killed in hydroplane-helicopter collision in Moscow region

Investigators conducting a criminal inquiry into the collision between a Cessna-206 hydroplane and a Robinson-44 helicopter in the Moscow region last Saturday believe that all the nine persons onboard are dead, Russian Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin has said.

Investigators conducting a criminal inquiry into the collision between a Cessna-206 hydroplane and a Robinson-44 helicopter in the Moscow region on Aug.8 believe that all the nine persons onboard are dead, Russian Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin has said.

"The collision took nine lives, including those of two underage [persons]," Markin told Interfax on Aug.10.

An investigative group comprising officers of the central staff of the Russian Investigative Committee, the Emergency Situations Ministry and the regional department of the Interior Ministry is working at the collision scene, he said.

"Their main theory is a piloting mistake," Markin said.

Both aircraft have been salvaged from the water and their debris is being studied by members of the Interstate Aviation Committee and other specialists. Forensic medical tests have been ordered, eyewitnesses to the tragedy are being identified and interviewed, and search-and-rescue workers continue to search for a man born in 1987 who was travelling on the hydroplane.

"Russian Investigative Committee leaders are controlling the criminal inquiry's progress," Markin said.

A light Cessna-206 hydroplane and Robinson-44 helicopter collided over the Istra water reservoir on the evening of May 8. The hydroplane was carrying five persons, including two children, and there were four people onboard the helicopter.

As of Aug.10 morning, rescuers have located and retrieved from the water eight bodies. Their identities have been formally established.

A representative of the regional transport overseeing services told Interfax that the hydroplane, owned by an individual, took off from Shevlino "yet neither the owner nor the pilot informed air traffic controllers about their flight."

The owner of the helicopter which departed from Lechishchevo notified air traffic control authorities about the flight plan starting at another location in the Istra district of the Moscow region.

The Russian Investigative Committee's Moscow city department on transport is probing the criminal case based on Part 3, Article 263 of the Criminal Code (flight safety violation causing two deaths or more).

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