World Media

18 killed in Russian helicopter crash in northern Siberia

18 killed in Russian helicopter crash in northern Siberia

The Investigative Committee of Russia has opened a probe into a Russian airline's Mi-8 helicopter crash Saturday in Siberia that killed all 18 people aboard.

The crashed helicopter was carrying 15 passengers and three crew, according to its operator, UTair airlines.

The doomed helicopter, operated by aviation company Utair, was carrying 15 oil workers and three crew.

State oil company Rosneft said the passengers were employees of its subsidiary RN Vankor, and contract workers.

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The second helicopter was able to land safely. "As a result it fell, was destroyed and burned".

UTair, one of Russia's largest airlines, operates an extensive fleet of helicopters serving Siberian oil fields as well as fixed-wing flights within Russian Federation and to worldwide destinations, mostly in the former Soviet republics.

"After take-off, according to early reports, the Mi-8 carrying passengers knocked into the external cargo of the other helicopter, for reasons unknown".

The incident occurred when a Russian-made Mi-8 aircraft knocked into the cargo of an adjacent helicopter as both were completing take-off in the Krasnoyarsk region, watchdog Rosaviatsia says.

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The helicopter that crashed was manufactured in 2010 and the pilot had almost 6,000 hours of experience, including 2,300 as a captain, the UTair statement said. The criminal investigators of the Main Directorate of Criminalistics of Russia's Investigative Committee were sent to the scene, the committee said in a statement.

Accidents involving helicopters and small planes are frequent in Siberia and far eastern Russian Federation, where air transport is commonly used to cover vast distances.

Eighteen people have been killed in a horrific helicopter crash after its blades hit cargo hanging off another helicopter. Meanwhile, black boxes from the Mi-8 have already been retrieved from the crash site, but their condition is yet unclear.

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