Country Risk

High shoot-down risk to low-flying rotary and fixed-wing aircraft likely to persist in southwest and northeast Colombia

26 October 2017


On 24 October 2017, an MI-17 commercial helicopter, operated by Helistar, was forced to land after being hit by small-arms fire over the municipality of Teorama, Norte de Santander.

The helicopter was commissioned by national oil company Ecopetrol to carry engineers into the area to carry out repair work to a pipeline. Responsibility and motivation for the shooting are as yet unclear; however, several illegal armed groups operate around Teorama, including the National Liberation Army (ELN), criminal remnants of the Popular Liberation Army (EPL) and gangs and peasant farmers involved in coca cultivation, cocaine production and trafficking. The incident was the second involving an attempted shoot-down of a helicopter in under a week.

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