site.btaPre-trial Proceedings Initiated over Friday's Helicopter Accident; Dense Fog Possible Cause
The District Prosecutor's Office in Blagoevgrad is conducting pre-trial proceedings regarding Friday's helicopter accident near the village of Garmen, in whch the pilot died, the prosecuting magistracy said Saturday.
Three main versions of the accident with the helicopter that fell near the village of Garmen (Southwest Bulgaria) and killed the pilot are being worked on, Hristo Hristov, head of the National Board for Aircraft, Maritime and Railway Accident Investigation, said on bTV earlier Saturday. The most probable cause could be a temporary loss of orientation in connection with the deteriorated weather conditions in the area of the flight - perhaps thick haze, fog or low cloud cover, he explained. "The second probable cause is a technical failure perhaps of an engine or control systems. The third version is the pilot's deteriorated health after takeoff," Hristov said.
In connection with the incident, pre-trial proceedings have been initiated for causing death due to ignorance or negligence while exercising an occupation or other legally regulated activity constituting a source of increased risk.
In the course of the initial investigative actions, it was established that the pilot of the aircraft was performing aerial spraying of forested areas near the village of Garmen. Having completed on Thursday the activities for which he was hired, the helicopter pilot took off at around 7:30 am on Friday from the stadium of the village of Garmen in reduced visibility (dense fog) to return to the company’s base.
At 12:50 pm later on Friday, the local police in the nearby town of Gotse Delchev were alerted about a helicopter that took off from Garmen towards the village of Tsalapitsa (South Bulgaria), with which connection was lost and whose whereabouts were uknown.
A search was initiated and at 7:20 pm on Friday, the helicopter was found in a densely forested and difficult terrain some 1.5 km away from Garmen. The body of the deceased pilot was also found.
The district prosecutor on duty in Blagoevgrad was informed and proceedings were initiated and the scene was inspected.
A second inspection was also carried out. Work on the case continues and witnesses are questioned. The necessary forensic examinations will be appointed to establish the causes of the incident. All possible versions are being worked on, the prosecution office said.