Albanian army helicopter crashes in lake; 2 dead, 1 injured

AP News
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Posted: Apr 06, 2016 1:05 PM

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — An army helicopter crashed Wednesday into a lake in northern Albania, killing two pilots and injuring the other crew member on board, officials said.

Local mayor Tonin Marinaj said the helicopter crashed into Shkodra Lake near the village of Grizhe some 108 kilometers (67 miles) north of the capital, Tirana.

Albania's defense ministry said the EC145 helicopter with three crew members on board was on a training mission. Health Minister Ilir Beqja said the surviving crew member was hospitalized with a broken arm.

An official in the Shkodra region, Paulin Radovani, said divers recovered the bodies of the two slain crew members from the wreckage.

Albanian media said residents reported hearing an explosion before the helicopter crashed into the water.

The army chief of staff, Major Gen. Jeronim Bazo, called for public patience as investigators collected evidence of what caused the crash. He said the helicopter entered service only in November and was deployed primarily for search-and-rescue missions. He said the two dead pilots had "reasonable experience and were trained domestically and abroad."