MINSK, 26 November (BelTA) – The crew of another Mi-8 helicopter has returned to Belarus after fighting forest fires in Turkey, the press service of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry told BelTA.
Belarusian First Deputy Emergencies Minister Aleksandr Khudoleyev as well as friends and families of the crew welcomed them back. While in Turkey the crew spent 459 hours and 49 minutes in the air to carry out 292 missions, discharge water 1,396 times, and drop 4,190 tonnes of water on fires in Turkish ecosystems. The helicopter also transported 212 Turkish rescue workers and forest rangers to fire locations.
While in Turkey pilots and technicians of the Aviation enterprise of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry acquired invaluable experience by providing international assistance with preventing and fighting forest fires. It was the first time two first pilots, two second pilots, and two flight engineers had carried out flights with suspended load. It was also the first time they had fought forest fires in mountainous areas and the first time they had flown along international air lines. Sixteen technicians took care of preparing helicopters for flights while four engineers acquired their first experience of helicopter maintenance at an off-base airfield.
The Turkish side praised the high level of training of Belarusian crews and thanked them for protecting Turkish citizens from forest fires.