Exclusive: Mircea Dusa, Minister of Defense, refused to order the rescue of the Apuseni Mountains airplane crash victims
Postat la: 09.02.2014 - 12:56 | Scris de: Ziua News
The victims of the Apuseni Mountains airplane crash could have been found in less than an hour after the airplane fell to the ground. Pilot officer Aura Ion would have lived. The wounded passengers would not have suffered from cold for hours while the rescue teams wandered through the woods, it results from exclusive declarations of military sources for ZIUAnews, explaining how Minister of Defense Mircea Dusa could have saved, by a simple order, at least one life.
More, according to the same sources, Adrian Iovan, the pilot, who was very familiar with the area, attempted to land on a plateau situated 500 metres away from the place where the airplane collapsed, the same plateau where Campia Turzii military helicopters station train, with pilots who have the necessary equipment and training for rescue operations. However, Mircea Dusa's involvement, as emergency cell member, was nill.
"Iovan knew the area very well and he looked for a landing place on the Petreasa Peak plateau, 500 metres away from the actual crash site. He knew that, once the airplane landed on Petreasa Peak plateau, they would be located and rescued", declared for ZIUAnews military sources.
Military pilots, kept down
Once Romania joined NATO, the Romanian Army updated their IAR-PUMA helicopters to turning them into SOCAT. The military helicopter pilots of the Campia Turzii station have been trained for years to respond in cases of airplane crashes. ZIUAnews was explained by military sources that "the decision for the SOCAT helicopters and the Ministry of National Defense to intervene should have been taken in accordance with the provisions of the Chicago Convention, ratified by Romania and currently used as the Airplane Security National Program on airplane crashes. The emergency cell works as "free", which means that all the ministries and the representatives hereof are allowed to use confidential data that are otherwise labelled confidential, service secret, national security. The sole voice that shold have heard was the voice of the Minister of Defense."
Plenty of equipment and no thinking
Three days after the tragedy that happened in the Apuseni Mountains, the Ministry of National Defense released a press statement claiming that "the Ministry of National Defense followed all effective procedures in according with the laws and regulations in effect. Thus, it has been decided to prepare the IAR 330 M with MEDEVAC kits from the Campia Turzii and Giarmata stations for mission. However, the bad weather conditions, thick fog and ice prevented the helicopters from flying. Carrying such a mission in bad weather jeopardizes the helicopters and their personnel." The statement also admits that the helicopters are part of the National Military Command Centre (the unit that works as Operational Centre in case of emergency).
The Ministry of Defense officials failed to mention that the pilots in Campia Turzii were prepared to intervene. "They have three types of helicopters in Campia Turzii, PUMA SOCAT and search and rescue helicopters. They know that they are part of the Intervention Operational Code and a PUMA SOCAT was ready to fly, but the order was not given. In fact, they could only fly after an approval is given and confirmed. However, they were told to stay to the ground", according to the same sources.
The military helicopter that can fly in blind
The military helicopter PUMA SOCAT can fly in bad weather conditions. "SOCAT is used when the fog is thick and there is zero visibility. They have proper equipment that displays the fly area in detail at any moment. It is our most modern helicopter and the SOCAT crews include highly trained military officers that have good first-aid knowledge, medical kits and at least one member of each team is a doctor. Should the helicopter be impossible to land, they can release a MEDEVAC winch which is 30 metres long. Should they be impossible to release the winch, they still could have parachuted. The area where the airplane crashed is the very training place for the SOCAT. The military pilots have a very good knowledge of the area", declared military sources.
Dusa forbade the rescue of the victims
"The station commander was about to fly the helicopter, he threatened to take the SOCAT and, if not allowed, to take the MEDEVAC. He was denied the access to the helicopter by the Minister of National Defense. It was the Minister of National Defense who did not allow him to take off, despite the very clear laws and regulations. When the helicopter pilots in Campia Turzii saw the airplane crash on the radar they prepared to take off, as they knew they are part of the response team, and so did the helicopter pilots in Bacau, who are not too far either.However, the airborne military response unit pilots saw the SMURD helicopter fly above them, knowing it lacks the search and rescue equipment during the flight while they were not allowed to fly the fully equipped PUMA SOCAT, the pride of the Romanian Airforce.
The NATO radar at Muntele Mare - The pilots in Campia Turzii had the right coordinates
The pilots at the Campia Turzii Military Airborne Station had the right coordinates of the airplane crash site. "They located the crash site because they work with the NATO radar, which means that the airplane was located when it went below the radar. They did not even need the radar, they saw the radar flying above them (...). In order to activate the information read on the NATO radar, a direct order was required. The radar provided the piece of information 100% clearly, because all flight machines are registered by the NATO radar. However, the information was not passed on because it has to be demanded, which it wasn't. Mircea Dusa, as Minister of Defense, should have asked the NATO radar the crash site location - a radius of 2.1 km, a perimeter of 4.2 km- and immediately deploy the SOCAT. I repeat, the information is free, any of the operational committee member could have asked the information, saying <<we are part of the airplane X crash emergency cell, we need the most recent location seen by your radar>> and the information would have been given, as it runs free and the radar operators know it very well", declared the same military sources.
The NATO radar at Muntele Mare
According to military intelligence, there is a radiolocation unit at 1,828 metres altitude, 20.76 km S-E from the place where the BN-2 airplane wreck was found, in keeping with the right coordinates. The military unit is equipped with the most modern in the Romanian Army, FPS-117. The radiolocation unit at Muntele Mare was established while the country was still run by Ceausescu, considering that the radar had unlimited sight over the Western Carpathians to the two Western operational border areas (Poarta Somesului and Poarta Muresului), as well as over the entire Transylvanian Plateau. In the 1980s, when the first MiG-21, MiG-23 and IAR-93 airplanes, along with the IAR-330 and IAR-316 helicopters were tested for ground attacks during military exercise in the Vladeasa- Muntele Mic area, the coordination activity was performed by the radar unit at Muntele Mare.
The Army surveys the entire airspace
Military specialists told ZIUAnews that "once the flight plan was submitted by pilot Adrian Iovan, the Ministry of National Defense authorized the pilot to fly in the Romanian airspace and gave the flight a four-digit military number, between 1001 and 1999, as each civilian aircraft registered in Romania is given, in accordance with the provisions of the Romanian Airspace Flight Regulation. Prior to the airplane taking off, the navigation operators were given not only the flight military number but also the flight plan details such as: take-off time, the used air lines, the altitude, the speed and so on, the navigators' task being to follow on the radar that the airplane complies with the flight plan details. The elements above were also passed to the Military Airborne Station 71 Campia Turzii, which uses war aircrafts, MiG-21 airplanes and IAR-330 helicopters, all MEDEVAC equipped. Although ROMATSA only has radars in the Transylvanian Plateau and claimed that once the airplane descended below the 2,100 metres altitude the civilian traffic controllers lost it on the radar, the Army through its Muntele Mare radar continued seeing it on the radar up to 40-50 seconds prior to the crash moment, because the pilot Iovan flew 10-15 km W from the radar in the last 2-3 minutes of the flight. Considering the silence characteristic to the mountain region, it is impossible for the army officers guarding the radiolocation unit not to have heard the BN-2 airplane with its engine or engines fully turned on flying so low and close, followed by a sudden silence. They may have even seen it", declared sources for "The Voice of Russia".
After the statements of the locals and first responders were registered, it became certain that someone had the exact coordinates of the crash site. The police chief in the village guided the forest rangers and two locals in Horea village towards the good direction, thus being able to find the airplane wreck. Another person communicated the wrong location situated 20-40 km from the actual site to the mountain rangers, mountain gendarmes and emergency responders.
"We are a NATO member country and we became a laughing stock not only for Eurocontrol but also for NATO, for having such well-equipped helicopters and such a powerful radar and not using them", ZIUAnews was told by military pilots.
Military sources declared that "Dusa did not want to order. Either he knew nothing of how well equipped we are or he was too afraid."
By Monica Cosac, Ruana Ceausescu and Eduard Pascu
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