US Black Hawk helicopter forced to land in Bucharest

A US Black Hawk military helicopter training in Romania was forced to undertake an emergency landing on Thursday in central Bucharest, bringing down two lampposts in the process. No one was injured.

The helicopter, which landed near the Arc De Triumph in Romania’s capital, was one of several aircraft training on Thursday in preparation for a military parade set to take place next week to mark the end of the Romanian Army’s military missions in Afghanistan.

The helicopter reportedly lost altitude over the capital and traffic police cleared an area of vehicles and pedestrians at Charles de Gaulle Square in time for the landing. It’s not yet clear what caused the incident, which is being investigated.

“We regret the incident that happened on Thursday … with a helicopter of the US Armed Forces that was forced to land in Charles de Gaulle Square in Bucharest,” Romania’s ministry of defense said in a statement. 

“The pilot managed to control the aircraft so that there are no victims, and the material damage is reduced.”

The US embassy in Romania said that it was “closely following the developments”.

“We are working with our Romanian partners to resolve the situation and we will provide updated information as it becomes available,” an embassy press release said.

Romania - which became a member of NATO in 2004 - has participated in Afghanistan military missions for 19 years with more than 32,000 troops. It repatriated its last 140 troops from the country at the end of May.