An Uruguay’s Air Force helicopter carrying two boxes of Pfizer vaccines against Covid-19 crashed on Thursday morning in the Eastern state of Rocha and the 3-member crew was taken to a local hospital with non-serious injuries. The accident occurred due to a “mechanical failure,” the Ministry of Defense reported and resulted in a fire that provoked total losses of the aircraft and the shipment it was transporting.
Around 300 doses in refrigerated boxes carried in the aircraft were intended to inoculate people over 80 years old and health personnel in the state bordering Brazil. The helicopter was part of the distribution operation for the third shipment of Pfizer vaccines that arrived in the country on Wednesday night, part of the 2-million doses acquired by Uruguay and signed back in January.
The crew members from the air force suffered polytraumatisms that are not serious.
The Director of Health of Rocha, Diego Pintado, informed to Subrayado that the Pfizer doses that were being transported in the helicopter to the department were lost, as there was a fire as a result of the accident.
The Transit Police will be in charge of transporting doses to Rocha in order to carry out the vaccination plan.
The helicopter suffered a mechanical failure while flying over the department of Rocha, which forced the three crew members of the aircraft to make an emergency landing, according to sources from the Ministry of Defence. As a result of the manoeuvre, the helicopter caught fire and suffered total losses.
The Air Force and the Army are in charge of distributing the refrigerated doses to various states in the interior of the country.
La @Fuerza_aerea_uy y el @EjercitoUy, realizaron esta madrugada un nuevo operativo de distribución de vacunas de Pfizer, llevando las dosis a 13 departamentos del país, asegurando la continuidad de la cadena de frío. pic.twitter.com/EmxymgKD1j— MDN Uruguay (@MDN_Uruguay) March 22, 2021
According to the information, the crew members remain under observation. The Air Force has launched an investigation to determine the cause of the accident.
Editorial update: The amount of doses traveling on the aircraft has been corrected due to differences in records and new information from the authorities.