Russian fire-fighting plane makes demonstration flight in Venezuela

Russian fire-fighting plane makes demonstration flight in Venezuela

02 April 2010

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Russia/Venezuela —    A Russian fire-fighting plane BE-200 made a demonstration flight in Venezuela, putting out a forest fire, the head of Venezuela’s national civil protection agency has said.

The flight took place on Thursday, on the eve of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s visit to the Latin American state. Putin and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will discuss on Friday military and economic cooperation, including a $2.2 billion loan to buy Russian arms.

The BE-200 amphibious aircraft, used by Russia’s emergencies services, flew to Venezuela from Chile, where it took part in the International Air and Space Fair — FIDAE 2010 on March 23-28.

“The Russian plane took off from the military air base in [the state of] Aragua to show its technical capabilities. During the flight we redirected it to extinguish a real fire near Carabobo, and the mission was successfully completed,” Luis Diaz said.

The Venezuelan official said the country was interested in purchasing Russia’s BE-200 fire-fighting planes to strengthen Venezuela’s emergencies services.

Searing drought hit the Latin American state this year, resulting in a large number of heavy forest fires. Last month, blazes destroyed more than 200 hectares of forest in the Warairarepano National Park near the Venezuelan capital, Caracas.

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