A United Nations helicopter has been shot down in eastern South Sudan by the nation’s armed forces, killing all four crew members onboard, the world body’s peacekeeping operation in the country reported today.
“The helicopter was not carrying any passengers,” the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) added in a news statement.
UNMISS has begun an investigation to establish the circumstances around the MI-8 helicopter’s crash, which occurred near the settlement of Likuangole, the state of Jonglei, in the country’s east, where it had been on a reconnaissance flight at around 10:00 a.m. local time.
Initial reports indicate that the aircraft crashed and burned. The Mission immediately launched a search and recovery operation, which confirmed the death of all four crew members.
In communications between UNMISS and South Sudan’s armed forces, known by the acronym SPLA, the Mission was told that the SPLA had shot at a helicopter in the Likuangole area on Friday.
“The Mission extends its heartfelt condolences to the families of the crew,” UNMISS added.