Local press: “UNOCI Mi-24 helicopter pilot found dead”

An intriguing story in Ivorian newspaper Nord-Sud today from their regional correspondent in Bouake…

“A Ukranian Mi-24 attack helicopter pilot at the UN peacekeeping mission whose name hasn’t been revealed, has been found dead in one of the two Alpha fighter jets of the Ivorian Air force, broken down since the start of the crisis in 2002 and parked at the airport in Bouake. According to information we received from an employee at the airport, the event happened a month ago. The Ukranian pilot was at the base to take spare parts from the above mentioned planes. As he was seated in the co-pilot seat of the Alpha-get, the Mi-24 pilot was violently thrown into the roof of the machine. This was at the very moment that he’d managed to dislodge a spare part. Unfortunately for him, the automatic ejection system that’s there in case of fire or danger in the air to eject the pilot out to safety was triggered, but without the release of the cockpit cover. Thus, the pilot was killed immediately when his head was crushed. A UN investigation team was alerted and made their inquiries, after which the affair was classified top secret because the Ukranian pilot was not officially working at the time and was attempting to steal parts from the jet. Before the death of the Ukranian, several cases of thefts from the jets had been reported, and the New Forces rebels were frequently suspected. With this incident, the real thief has been found.”

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