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Full Coverage: Astronauts in copter crash

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Blaha on-board crashed Czech helicopter

November 1, 2001 — Amending earlier reports, Czech news agency CTK is reporting that US astronaut John Blaha was on-board the Mi-8 helicopter which crashed Sunday, carrying fellow space explorers Eugene Cernan and Vladimir Remek.

Blaha, who lived for 128 days on the Mir space station in addition to four space shuttle flights, is said to have been "only lightly injured" but remains hospitalized.

Cernan returned for the United States today. Remek was released from the hospital yesterday.

At a press briefing held in Prague, Air Force Commander Jaroslav Kankia said that the crash was "preceded by a decline in both [of the helicopter's] engines' performance."

A commission has been convened to investigate the possible causes of the accident, such as "the absorption of foreign objects by the engines, the machine's technical defect, an interruption of the fuel supply and other variants, including a possible mistake of the pilots."




Cernan released from hospital after crash

October 30, 2001 — The Associated Press is reporting that Eugene Cernan, the last man to walk on the Moon, has been released from a Czech hospital, two days after being admitted for precautionary observation.

Treated for a slight injury to his left foot, Cernan is reported to be in relatively good health, considering that the Mi-8 helicopter he was aboard fell nearly 500 feet.

Of the twelve passengers who were aboard the aircraft, Cernan is the first to leave the hospital. Among those who remain bedridden is Vladimir Remek, the first citizen of a nation other than the U.S. or USSR to fly into space.




Cernan, Remek survive helicopter crash

October 29, 2001 — Eugene Cernan, the last man to walk on the Moon, and cosmonaut Vladimir Remek have survived a helicopter crash, according to a report by the Associated Press.

The space travelers were visiting the Czech Republic when their military transport went down near Milevsko, 60 miles south of Prague, at approximately 1400 GMT.

The cause of the crash is not yet known.

Though reports suggested that neither Cernan or Remek sustained injuries, both were admitted to a hospital where they were to undergo observation.

Prior to their hard landing, the two were on their way to visit Bernatice, the hometown of Cernan's grandfather. Cernan arrived in the country on October 26 with fellow astronaut John Blaha at the invitation of the Czech Chief of Staff Jiri Sedivy.

Blaha was not with Cernan at the time of the crash.

This is not the first time the moonwalker has survived a helicopter crash. On January 23, 1971, Cernan flew a NASA helicopter nose-first into the Banana River located near the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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