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Russian Military Helicopter Crashes at Air Show, Latest in Series of Military Crashes

The Mi-28 helicopter was part of the elite Berkut aerobatics team performing tricks and was flying in formation with other helicopters before it went into a spin and crashed.
August 2, 2015, 7:40pm
Imagen vía YouTube/Zvezda

A Russian military helicopter crashed Sunday as it took part in an airshow leaving the pilot dead and another injured according to the Defense Ministry.

The Mi-28 helicopter was part of the elite Berkut aerobatics team performing tricks and was flying in formation with other helicopters before it went into a spin and crashed. Flames were seen rising up from the crash almost immediately after it hit the ground. It wasn't immediately clear what caused the deadly incident.

Related: Russian Bomber Crashes into Siberia in Latest Military Crash

The helicopter was taking part in the International Army Games, where troops from multiple nations show off tricks at shooting ranges across the country.

The games are seen as a Russian effort to show off its military might as tensions over Ukraine linger.

The crash is just the latest in series of mishaps involving Russian military aircraft with seven reported crashes in the last eight weeks. In recent years Russian President Vladimir Putin has pushed for a better air force and the country has purchased more aircraft and attempted to modernize pilot training, bu the recent crashes have led to questions about the air force's safety and pilot training.

The numerous crashes in recent weeks have not only cost the lives of military crews but led top military officials to ground certain aircraft during crash investigations.

In Sunday's crash the only fatality reported was Lt.-Col. Igor Butenko, who was piloting the helicopter.

Related: Video Shows Aftermath of Russian Army Barrack Collapse

"There are situations when it's impossible to survive no matter how well-trained the pilot is," Butenko's son, an air force academy cadet, told Russia's Lifenews online portal, according to the Associated Press.

The Mi-28 have been grounded by Russian Air Force Chief Viktor Bondarev pending an investigation into the fatal crash. The helicopter seats two crew members and has replaced old Soviet-era machinery in recent years.

 Last month a Tu-95 Bear aircraft bomber crash in Siberia, leaving two dead during a training exercise. Flights of the Tu-95 bomber were suspended as the military investigated the crash.

Prior to the deadly Tu-95 crash, the military also temporarily grounded Su-24s aircraft after a July 6 crash that occurred shortly after take-off.  Also, two MiG-29 fighter jet crashed within weeks of each other. Both of the pilots in the MiG-29 were able to bail out of the planes safely. In addition to the crashes, the military was dealt another blow when a Russian army barracks collapsed in July, leaving at least 23 soldiers dead.

_The Associated Press contributed to this article. _

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