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Five Ukrainian Pilots Die In Helicopter Crash

BUCHAREST -- Reports from Romania and Moldova say five Ukrainian pilots were killed in eastern Romania when a helicopter they were traveling in crashed near the village of Ostrav on the Danube River.

Moldova's Transportation Minister Anatol Salaru says the helicopter belonged to a private Moldovan firm called Pecotox.

He said the helicopter and its passengers were being taken to Turkey, where the firm has a contract to use helicopters for summer firefighting operations.

Romanian air traffic controller Bogdan Donciu says the downed aircraft was one of two helicopters flying together from the Moldovan capital, Chisinau, to Turkey.

He said the second helicopter landed nearby after the crash.

Romania's Prosecutor-General's Office has begun an investigation into the crash.

Based on reporting by RFE/RL's Moldovan and Ukrainian services, with additional contributions from AP and AFP