Georgian Defence Minister Juansher Burchuladze on Tuesday hailed the “heroism” of the rescuers and first responders who died in the border police helicopter crash near Gudauri on Friday by highlighting their sacrifice as an example of “heroism”.
Speaking at the civic funeral of the professionals, Burchuladze expressed his condolences to the Georgian people for the tragedy.
I offer my condolences to the Georgian public. This is our tragedy. When a public servant sacrifices themselves to save another's life, the public is free to qualify it as heroism”, he said.
Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili on Tuesday awarded the crew, rescuers and first responders with the state Medal for Civic Dedication.
The civil funeral is held in the Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi. The crew of the border police of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the rescuers of the emergency management service will be buried with full military honours.
The helicopter on a rescue operation in Gudauri lost control and crashed in a ravine on Friday. The helicopter had been carrying rescuers of the Emergency Management Service and first aid responders called to assist paragliders who had ended up in the ravine.
There were four crew members onboard the helicopter, as well as two rescuers from the emergency management service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and two medics from the emergency coordination and emergency assistance centre of the Ministry of Health.