China makes the Z-8, a licensed copy of the French SA 321 Super Frelon helicopter dating back to the 1960’s. I’m familiar with the type, having flown in South African Air Force Super Frelons during the 1970’s and 1980’s. It can hold up to 30 troops, and has three engines, giving good performance compared to other helicopters of its vintage. One of the pre-production prototypes held three world speed records for a time.
Amongst other tasks, China uses its Z-8’s for firefighting duties, carrying a large bucket to drop water on the flames. Tragically, a firefighting Z-8 got into difficulties earlier this week; from the footage, it looks as if it lost tail rotor function and/or control.
Sadly, it appears that the two pilots and two crew members of the Z-8 did not survive the crash. Say a prayer for their souls – and remember all those engaged in such hazardous occupations. They take their lives in their hands every time they go out.