Kazakhstan honours servicemen killed in helicopter crash

A state award ceremony was held in Shymkent for three survivors and the families of ten military personnel who lost their lives in a special border troop operation on Sept. 8.

Said Salimov

2009-10-20

KAZAKHSTAN — A state award ceremony was held in Shymkent for three survivors and the families of ten military personnel who lost their lives in a special border troop operation on Sept. 8.

They were on board an Mi-8 helicopter that crashed in the mountainous region of the Ugamsk Gorge in southern Kazakhstan near the Uzbek border. The Arlan military intelligence and search group from the State Security Committee (SSC)'s Border Service had flown there on receiving information from their Uzbek counterparts about six armed criminals attempting to cross the Kazakh-Uzbek border.

From the air, members of the crew saw several people in the hills. They attempted a landing, during which the helicopter exploded and crashed. Only three of the 13-member crew survived the tragic accident because they were thrown from the helicopter as it fell.

Kazakhstan’s President Nazarbaev expressed his condolences to the families of those who died and signed an order granting the border guards state awards "for exemplary conduct of their military and professional duties, bravery and self-sacrifice shown in the enforcement of national security." They were given the Order of Courage, 2nd and 3rd class, and medals “for courage in battle.” Unfortunately, ten of the awards were posthumous.

Kazakh State Security Committee Chairman Lt. Gen. Amangeldy Shabdarbaev travelled to Shymkent to present the awards. A memorial will also be erected in honour of the dead, on Glory Avenue in the Abay municipal park.

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