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Helicopter taken out of river

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, August 29
Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) has withdrawn acrashed Mi-8 helicopter from the artificial reservoir at the Gujarula river, near the village of Daba in the Borjomi Municipality.

The helicopter, belonging to the Border Police Department, made an emergency landing on the river on Sunday, while it was filling a container with water in order to extinguish fire in Borjomi forest.

The MIA reports that employees of the Emergency Situations Management Agency and British Petroleum Company (BP) took part in the removal works of the aircraft.

The ministry added that the aircraft has been sent to Tbilisi for expert analyst, in order to discover the reason of the accident.

The MIA also said that the river is not polluted by the petrol that poured into the reservoir after the helicopter crash.

A twelve-member group of chemical, biological, radiation and nuclear incidents response division of the Emergency Situations Management Agency of Georgia arrived at the site of the accident and cleaned the artificial water reservoir, in order to prevent pollution of the river.

During the incident there were four men in the helicopter. All of them had only minor injuries and were sent to the Gudushauri Hospital in Tbilisi for medical tests.

The Mi-8 helicopter had been working in Borjomi Gorge since August 20 when the fire started, and it was working 12 hours a day.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) launched an investigation into the case under Article 275 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, pertaining to the violation of the exploitation rules of a helicopter.

The Interior Ministry has released a statement regarding the incident, saying the helicopter underwent technical testing two days before the accident.

Furthermore, the MIA reports that the fire has been totally localized in Borjomi forest.

Interior Minister Giorgi Mghebrishvili said on Sunday that the emergency crews of the neighboring countries have already left Georgia but around 700 people of the Interior and Defense Ministries still remain in the area in order to prevent another outbreak.

The exact amount of damage is not known yet; however, supposedly 250 hectares have been destroyed due to the fire.

This was the second fire incident in Borjomi forest after around 180 hectares of coniferous forest were burnt down during the August 2008 war between Georgia and Russia.