Report Of One Fatality Uncorroborated
In a matter of seconds, a search and rescue exercise turned into
a real rescue in Aniva Bay off the Sakhalin Peninsula north of
Japan. A Russian Mil MI-14PS Search and Rescue helicopter with
thirteen souls on board crashed in full sight of -- and while being
filmed by -- a Japanese vessel at 6:46 AM Thursday morning --
Moscow time (0246 Zulu).
According to CBS News, one crewman did not escape from the
overturned helicopter, but Russia's Interfax News Agency said all
aboard were alive, although the pilot was injured.
The helicopter belonged to the ROSTO organization, a voluntary
sports and civil defense organization roughly analogous to the CAP.
There were five crewmen and an eight-member civil aviation rescue
team aboard. All survivors were taken aboard the Russian rescue
cutter Agat, from which a critically injured pilot was medevaced on
an Mi-8 helicopter -- a non-seagoing version of his own Mi-14 --
with a reported spinal injury.
Russian and Japanese forces were undertaking a joint SAR
exercise that also was meant to test cooperation on matters of
mutual interest, such as emergency response to oil spills. Seven
Russian Ships and four helicopters have been joined by a Coast
Guard ship, two oil-recovery vessels, and a helicopter from
The white and turquoise Russian helicopter made a spectacular
vertical splashdown in the water, showing off the Mi-14's water
But when the pilots went to lift off, the nose of the helicopter
tucked into the swells. It looks like they attempted to power
through the swell, causing a dynamic rollover forward, at least
until the spinning rotors hit the water and shattered. Overturned
by torque, the machine settled belly-up as rescuers sprang into
Most helicopters turn turtle if crashed in water because of the
relatively heavy rotorhead and engines are high up on the machine.
Most nations train their military and especially naval helicopter
crews in a "dunker" egress training device which simulates a crash
in water and overturning. The Russians have such devices, although
it's not known whether the accident crew had ever had such
Reportedly, the helicopter was still afloat many hours