Turkmen.news Identifies Helicopter Crash Victims

Turkmen.news has learnt the names of the three servicemen killed in the helicopter crash on January 13 in Ahal region. The Italian-made AgustaWestland (AW139) belonged to the State Border Service of Turkmenistan.

Flight technician Babakhan Sultanov

The captain of the crew was Lieutenant Colonel Bayram Kurbanov, 40, a native of Mary region (see the photo below). The co-pilot was a recent graduate of the Aviation Training School, Maksat Muradov, who earlier served in the border air force. The third person on board was flight technician Babakhan Sultanov, 43, from Ashgabat.

Bayram Kurbanov and Babakhan Sultanov are reported to have undergone training in Italy in 2012 on this model of helicopter. All three victims served in the air squadron at the Akdepe (Ak-tepe) military airfield near Ashgabat.

A turkmen.news source has confirmed our earlier report that the helicopter was heading for Lebap region to provide security for President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov who was due to make a working visit there the next day. The AgustaWestland was to have refueled in Mary before flying on to Turkmenabat.

“They were under orders and took off in dense fog,” the source said. “The helicopter struck one of four TV transmitters near the village of Gawers in Ahal region, came down, and burst into flames.”

According to the source, the crash of the State Border Service helicopter has been classified as secret. Local media did not report the tragedy.