BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — A Ukrainian helicopter has crashed in eastern Slovakia, killing six people, Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kalinak said Friday.
Kalinak said the helicopter was found in Slovak territory on the border with Ukraine on Friday.
The minister told media in the western city of Zilina that the pilot might have tried to evade detection by Slovak authorities. "He was doing dangerous maneuvers especially in very bad weather conditions because he was flying very low."
Kalinak suggested that the crash of the Russian-made Mi2 might have something to do with illegal smuggling activities common on the outer border of the European Union.
"We don't know the direct reason for the crash and need to investigate into it," he said.
"It's extraordinarily sad. And you can see that the smugglers or traffickers are ready to use any dangerous activity to get through our border."
His ministry's spokesman Ivan Netik told The Associated Press that Slovak border police noticed an unidentified aircraft coming from Ukraine on Wednesday. He said that Ukrainian authorities reported no aircraft returning from Slovakia in that area.
Netik said the helicopter's wreckage was found near the village of Stretavka. A search for the aircraft was complicated by fog on the border until Friday, he said.
He gave no further details, citing an ongoing investigation.
This version clarifies that the helicopter's wreckage was found Friday, not that it crashed Friday. Officials believe the aircraft crashed earlier in the week.