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Wednesday, May 28, 2014 - 4.45 GMT

SLAF confirms debris belongs to Mi-24 gunship


The Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) today confirmed that the debris found by the SL Navy in the seas off Chalai was that of a Russian built Mi-24 Hind gunship which went missing in March 1997 with eight airmen including two Russian nationals.

Navy divers located the debris including the rotor and engine kit at a depth of 12 feet and one nautical mile east of Chalai in Mullaitivu.

The debris which was inspected by a specialist nominated by Air Force Commander Kolitha Gunethileke identified as the SLAF Mi-24 Helicopter (Serial Number CH 614).

The helicopter was believed to have been shot down by LTTE fire.

The ill-fated helicopter was captained by Flying Officer A Malalasekera and with the rest of the crew comprising Major Wowa Miller (Co Pilot), Major Y Romanov (Engineer), Air Gunners LAC Arunashantha, LAC Samarakoon, Flight Lieutenant PHA Senasinghe, Corporal Nandasena and LAC Liyanage.

The bodies of the two air gunners were recovered sometime after the crash after they were washed ashore in India.

At the time of the incident the MI-24 was on a ferrying flight from the SLAF base in Palaly to the SLAF base in Hingurakgoda when it came under attack.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s several Russian-made attack and transport helicopters belonging to the Sri Lanka Air Force crashed or went missing in the area where the debris was recovered possibly due to LTTE surface to air missile (SAM) attacks or RPG fire.





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Last modified: May 28, 2014.

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