Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has signed a decree to award pilots Andrei Nichiporchik and Nikita Kukonenko the Hero of Belarus title posthumously, BelTA learned from the press service of the Belarusian head of state.
The flight commander and the pilot of the training and combat squadron of the 116th Assault Airbase of the Air Force and Air Defense Force of Belarus were honored with such a high award for their courage and heroism in the line of duty.
As BelTA reported, the tragedy happened on 19 May. A Yak-130 aircraft of the Lida-based assault airbase crashed during a training flight near Baranovichi killing the flight commander of the training and combat squadron of the 116th Assault Airbase, Major Andrei Nichiporchik and a pilot of the training and combat squadron of the 116th Assault Airbase, Lieutenant Nikita Kukonenko.
A little more than a minute passed from the moment an emergency situation arouse till the aircraft crash. Thanks to the incredible efforts, at an altitude of about 50m, the crew managed to stabilize the direction of flight and steer the Yak-130 to a single point outside the residential area.