Russian helicopter crash kills 18 people in Siberia

Russian helicopter crash kills 18 people in Siberia

A Russian helicopter has crash-landed in Krasnoyarsk Territory, with reports saying at least 18 people have died.

The Mi-8 helicopter crashed in the Krasnoyarsk region of Siberia.

It was carrying 15 workers on their way to the Vankor oil field and three crew members.

The helicopter operators in Russian Federation works with oil and gas companies and transport people and cargo for clients like Shell, Gazprom and Rosneft. "Second to take off was a Mi-8helicopter carrying passengers", the watchdog said.

"The first take-off was carried out by an Mi-8 with an external cargo suspension without passengers on board", the ministry said in a statement.

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The Russian Transport Ministry, quoted by AFP news agency, said the second helicopter landed safely and the incident happened in "normal" weather conditions. The helicpoter fell apart and caught fire.

The Investigative Committee has launched a criminal investigation into the neglect of aircraft safety guidelines.

The investigators are checking the flight documentation, taking fuel samples and interrogating maintenance personnel, employees of the airline and witnesses of the crash, the committee said.

Both aircraft belong to Russian national airline Utair. It also works around the world on United Nations contracts, according to the company's website.

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