Rescuers towed the wreck of the Mi-171 helicopter from its crash site on July 7, 2014. Photo: Nguyen Tuan
The only soldier to survive a military helicopter crash that left 20 people dead outside Hanoi several months ago has recovered after nearly four months of treatment for his severe burns.
Lieutenant Dinh Van Duong, 31, now can speak and eat, and no longer requires a ventilator, news website VnExpress cited the National Institute for Burn Victims’ doctors as saying Wednesday.
According to the doctors, his burns are healing, although he remains quarantined from other patients to prevent infection.
Duong was rushed to hospital on July 7 with multiple injuries and serious burns on 53 percent of his body.
He and 20 others, including three crew members, two trainers, and 15 soldiers, took off that morning on a Russian-made Mi-171 helicopter from Regiment 916 of the 371st Air Force Division.
The aircraft fell out of the sky during a parachuting exercise at around 7:30 am.
Sixteen were killed instantly. Two others succumbed to their injuries later that evening, bringing the total fatalities to 18.
Two more died on July 19 and September 2.
The Mi-171 chopper took off from Hoa Lac military airport in Hanoi’s Ba Vi District and lost contact with its base 16 minutes later.
The helicopter reportedly made landfall near Village 11 in Thach Hoa Commune, Thach That District, around 500 meters away from a market and 40 kilometers west of Hanoi.
The helicopter crashed roughly three kilometers from the airbase.
On July 11, Major-General Nguyen Kim Cach of the Air Defense and Air Force Service, told local media that one of the helicopter's two engines had suffered a loss of power shortly after taking off from Hoa Lac military airport in Hanoi’s Ba Vi District.
Because the helicopter had not yet reached altitude, there wasn't enough time for the second engine to compensate for the power loss, he said.