2008 Macedonian Armed Forces Mil Mi-17 crash

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2008 Macedonian Armed Forces Mi-17 crash
Macedonian Air Force Mi-17.jpg
A Macedonian Air Force Mil Mi-17 identical to the one involved in the incident.
Date 12 January 2008 (2008-01-12)
Summary Weather-related crash
Site Blace, near Katlanovo, Republic of Macedonia[1]
Aircraft type Mil Mi-17
Operator Army of the Republic of Macedonia
Registration VAM-304
Flight origin Camp Butmir, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Destination Skopje Airport
Passengers 8
Crew 3
Fatalities 11
Survivors 0

The 2008 Macedonian Armed Forces Mil Mi-17 crash occurred on Saturday, 12 January 2008, when a Mil Mi-17 transport helicopter belonging to the Armed Forces of the Republic of Macedonia, crashed 50–100 metres[2][3] from the village of Blace, situated in the region of Katlanovo,[4] approximately 10–15 kilometres south-east of Skopje, Republic of Macedonia[5] due to low visibility caused by heavy fog. All 11 individuals aboard the helicopter, including 8 passengers and 3 crew members, were killed in the crash.[6]


The incident took place at approximately 11:00 a.m. (GMT). The helicopter was returning from a EUFOR peace keeping mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina and started to experience foggy conditions[7] whilst preparing to land at their destination — The Skopje Airport.[3] The crash was reported by two local fishermen who claimed they saw the helicopter flying unusually low. A witness stated that "The engine of the helicopter did not sound like it worked well..."[3] Witnesses also reported seeing a "fireball" as the helicopter became engulfed in flames following impact.[5] This was subsequently followed by a series of explosions, possibly triggered by a supply of kerosene or ammunition.[3]

Based on a Reuters photographer's eye-witness account, the helicopter was incinerated and debris was found up to 100 metres from the crash site.[8]


Upon arriving the at the scene of the event, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia, Nikola Gruevski, said; "This is a terrible accident, a great tragedy and a great loss. I express my deepest and sincerest condolences to the families of the victims. An investigation is starting that will identify the cause of the accident."[3][5][7]

The President of the Republic of Macedonia, Branko Crvenkovski, also expressed his sympathy for the lives lost, stating: "We have not seen such a tragic lost [sic] of Macedonian soldiers in the country's recent history..."[9] The Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Macedonia confirmed that the incident is the deadliest aviation accident to occur within the country's air force.[10]

Along with the president and prime minister, the Interior Minister of the Republic of Macedonia, Gordana Jankulovska, also visited the crash site immediately following the incident.[10]


In the immediate aftermath of the crash, only seven soldiers were fully identified.[11] After the identification of all victims involved in the crash, it was reported that a total of eleven military personnel between the ages of 26 and 40 had been killed in the crash.[9]

Following the incident, the Government of the Republic of Macedonia created a special body to lead the investigation into the cause of the crash.[9]


  1. ^ http://www.vlada.mk/files/Konecen_Izvestaj_na_komisijata_za_helikopterskata_nesrekja.pdf место на несреќата: Село Блаце, близу Катланово"
  2. ^ Macedonia military chopper crashes, no survivors ABC News. Sunday, 13 January 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d e Macedonian helicopter crash kills 11 soldiers by Goran Trajkov. Southeast European Times. 14 January 2008.
  4. ^ 11 ARM soldiers die in copter crash near Katlanovo Macedonian Information Agency.
  5. ^ a b c Macedonia crash kills 11 soldiers BBC. Saturday, 12 January 2008.
  6. ^ Macedonian helicopter crash kills 11 by Ognen Teofilovski. The Age. 13 January 2008.
  7. ^ a b Macedonian Army Helicopter Crash Kills 11 Fox News Channel. Saturday, 12 January 2008.
  8. ^ Macedonian helicopter crash kills 11. Reuters. The West Australian. 13 January 2008.
  9. ^ a b c 11 Helicopter Crash Victims Buried in Macedonia Novinite. 16 January 2008.
  10. ^ a b Macedonian army helicopter crashes, 11 killed. The Associated Press. International Herald Tribune. 12 January 2008.
  11. ^ Macedonian military helicopter crash kills 11 Reuters. 12 January 2008.

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