Macedonian military helicopter crashes killing 11
A Macedonian military helicopter transporting soldiers home from Bosnia crashed near a village south of the capital Skopje on Saturday, killing 11 passengers and crew.
Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski said the cause of the crash in the Katlanovo region was not known, but described it as an accident
"According to preliminary reports, 11 people were on their way from Bosnia," he told reporters at the crash site. "So far, seven bodies have been identified."
A government statement said there were no survivors.
Gruevski said the Mi-17 transport helicopter had been approaching landing around midday (1100 GMT) when the accident occurred.
A Reuters photographer said the helicopter was completely destroyed (pictured above), scattering debris up to 100 metres from the site.
The helicopter was returning Macedonian soldiers from European Union-led peackeeping operations in Bosnia.
"This ia terrible accident, a great tragedy and a great loss," said President Branko Crvenkovski. The government announced a national day of mourning.
Macedonia's military helicopter fleet is mostly made up of Russian-made Mi-24 attack helicopters and Mi-17s, bought in 2001 during an ethnic Albanian guerrilla insurgency. (Reuters)
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