A Russian helicopter crashed in Syria on early Tuesday,  killing two pilots, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. The incident occurred near the city of Homs after the pilots completed a mission. Their bodies have been recovered and taken to an air base located on the Syrian coast, said the Associated Press.

The ministry said in a statement that the attack helicopter Mi-28N did not come under fire. Russian authorities are already investigating the reason of the crash. According to state media, weather conditions may have affected flying conditions.

MI 28 Havoc. Credit: South Front

Russia Today said that other two incidents of this kind have already occurred in Syria since the Mi-28N started performing. The new-generation attack vehicle is armed with a 30mm cannon and is able to strike various targets at the same time.

“A group of aircraft accident experts is working at the crash site. The cause of the accident is being investigated. Nobody shot at the aircraft. This is probably a technical failure,”

Authorities said that moments before the crash occurred, the chopper’s emergency alert system had notified the malfunction of the hydraulic boost system, said Russia Today.

The Mi-28N is designed to perform at day and night. A military source said to the Russia’s Interfax news agency, that the mission took place at night while pilots were wearing night-vision goggles. However, they might had been flying over unknown terrain and struck an obstacle, according to UPI.

Russia in Syria: seven members of the Russian military have died in combat operations

Russia has been conducting airstrikes to support Syrian government forces since September 30, said the Associated Press. This has allowed the Russian Air Force to carry out tests on its latest weapons, including the Mi-28N.

Last month. Russia used a Mi-28N in a Syrian government operation, to attack Islamic State militants established in the ancient city of Palmyra. Since Russian operations started, seven members of the military have died in Syria, said UPI.

Russia ordered recently the retirement of a big part of its military forces from Syria, after six months of bombing campaigns. However, Russia continues to provide military supplies to the Syrian government army, using helicopters. 

Source: UPI