An Mi-8 gunship made a spectacular landing on a highway in Kazakhstan, blocking a truck convoy. To the astonishment of the drivers, a crew member then got out and started asking for directions to the closest city.
The video, which appeared on social media, opens with the Soviet-designed helicopter sitting in the center of a two-lane highway, its rotors whipping up snow all around.
“What the f**k is he doing? He is just sitting there in the middle of the road,” says a disbelieving voice off-camera.
What follows is a minute of apprehensive silence, as the truck drivers are wary of coming close to the rotor blades, which have a 21-meter span.
A comically small figure then emerges from the massive helicopter and into the blizzard, and trots urgently towards the first truck. The helicopter officer shakes the hand of the driver, and then starts pointing his arms animatedly in different directions, while evidently making inquiries. Satisfied, the officer shakes his fist triumphantly, and jogs back to his place inside the $10 million craft.
“They were lost,” says a voice on the convoy radio, failing to suppress his laughter. “He came to ask which way to Aktobe.”
“How can you get lost in the steppe? How the hell can you get lost in the steppe?” says another incredulous voice.
Meanwhile, the helicopter revs its engines and gracefully ascends above the cavalcade, continuing on its way as if nothing happened.
As the video of the incident spread, the Kazakhstan Ministry of Defense was flooded with inquiries, and has released a statement saying that this was a “planned visual orienteering exercise,” in which trainee pilots were told to determine their location “including by means of human survey.” According to the statement, cited by the local media, the exercise was a “success.”
“The helicopter has now returned to the airfield where it is based,” the statement concludes.