An SLAF MI-17 helicopter (SMH 4417) engaged with the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces crashed during landing phase in the Central African Republic at around on Friday morning (Jan.12).
In a statement, the Defence Ministry said the helicopter was on a routine cargo flight during a UN Peacekeeping mission.
Five crew members and 1,200kg of cargo aboard the aircraft at the time of the incident, and two members had sustained minor injuries.
The crash-landing was attributed to the rotor brownout (RWB) resulting from extreme dusty and sand conditions.
The Ministry of Defence further emphasized that the 5 crew members and the helicopter are safe with the Sri Lankan Contingent in Central African Republic.
Meanwhile, an SLAF- appointed panel of investigators are conducting a probe into the crash of the helicopter to determine the precise cause of the damage.
The Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) deployed a pair of Mil Mi-17 Hip medium-lift utility helicopters in April 2022, to support the UN’s Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).
Both Hip utility helicopters were deployed to the Central African Republic aboard a UN-chartered Antonov An-124 heavy-lift strategic transport from Maximus Air Cargo between March 29 and April 2.