Missing Helicopter Found, Confirmed Death of Margarita Afanaskin

Tuesday, September 17, 2013
By George Hatcher

On Sept 14, 2013, an Agusta Westland AW119 Koala en route from Chinggis Khaan International Airport in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to Myakinino in Krasnogorsk, Moscow went missing near Tver Oblast. The last conversation between the pilot and ATC took place at 13:14 when the plane was flying over Staritskogo in heavy rain with low visibility. There are conflicting reports that the helicopter landed at a lumberjack festival with a number of people aboard, and that the commander of the aircraft was 30-year-old helicopter champion of Europe and Russia, Margarita Afanaskin was flying the helicopter to a Yakhroma airfield when the helicopter went missing. This has not been confirmed.

The search team involved more than 100 people from diverse agencies, including the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry: 25 people 5 units from the Federal Air Transport Agency; 6 people, 3 units and participating police officers, foresters, volunteers. The rescue hotline released at the time was (4822) 39-99-99.?. Four Robinson helicopters and a Mi-8 helicopter searched Saturday.

The search continued through the end of the fourteenth, and resumed the morning of the fifteenth.

At 18:11 on September 16, the Ministry of Internal Affairs reported that helicopters in the area of ??the village Selco Staritskogo district of Tver region, from the air sighted the possible wreckage of the vehicle. Ground forces confirmed the bodies of a man and a woman whose names were not initially released; but since then the pilot was confirmed, and the passenger of the helicopter was the head of a department of the Federal Forestry Agency, Sergei Medvedev.

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