Estimated reading time 5 minutes, 46 seconds.
A Russian Mi-24 Hind attack helicopter was shot down over Armenia by a man-portable air defense (MANPAD) missile on Nov. 9, in what Azerbaijani forces are saying was a case of mistaken identity.
Two of the helicopter’s crew were killed and another crewmember was evacuated from the crash scene with injuries, according to an official Russian Defense Ministry statement.
“On Nov. 9, at about 17:30 Moscow time, a Russian Mi-24 helicopter came under fire from the ground from a man-portable air-defense system when accompanying a vehicle convoy of the 102nd Russian military base on the territory of the Republic of Armenia in the airspace close to the Armenian settlement of Yeraskh near the border with the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (the Republic of Azerbaijan),” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement first reported by Russian news agency TASS.
“Two crewmembers were killed, one was evacuated with moderate injuries to the home air base,” the Russian ministry added.
The Mi-24 is a tandem-cockpit — the crew of two sit one behind the other — attack helicopter with a small crew compartment below and behind the pilots. The helicopter in question was shot down near Armenia’s western border where a conflict has been raging with neighboring Azerbaijan over that country’s Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.
Video of the moment the MANPAD hit the helicopter and images of the crash site began posting to social media on Nov. 9, showing a bright explosion in the night sky over the Armenian village of Yeraskh.
Russia is understood to have been assisting Armenia in the conflict, with Azerbaijan forces receiving help from Turkey. Both countries are former Soviet republics whose air forces operate the Russian-built Mi-24 and Mi-8/17 helicopters.
Azerbaijan later on Nov. 9 admitted it had shot down an Mi-24, but said that among high tensions and in crowded, conflicted airspace, its forces had made a mistake in using deadly force.