Two people were hospitalized with heavy injuries after a helicopter accidentally fired on observers of the Zapad 2017 military exercises, the online news portal 66.ru cited a source as saying on Sept. 19.
The week-long drills in Western Russia and neighboring Belarus kicked off last week, with the participation of around 13,000 troops and hundreds of tanks, aircraft, warships, and other military hardware.
The incident reportedly took place at the Luzhsky range near St. Petersburg either on Sept. 17 or 18. President Vladimir Putin visited the range on Sept. 18.
Watch footage of the misfire provided alongside the report below:
(Птица Кошка Дерево | YouTube)
The unnamed source told 66.ru that there appeared to have been a technical glitch on board “and the missiles blasted off on their own.”
“At least two cars burned down, two people were seriously injured, they are now hospitalized,” the source said. “The victims were most likely journalists.”
The Russian Defense Ministry said two attack helicopters simulated aerial reconnaissance and close air support missions on Sept. 18 as part of Zapad 2017.