At least 19 people were killed in helicopter crash in northwestern Siberia, Investigative Committee of Russia said today.
In a statement, the investigators said that an Mi-8 helicopter ferrying 22 people crashed late Friday night on the outskirts of Novy Urengoy city. The statement confirmed that "19 people died from multiple injuries at the scene, according to preliminary data," AFP reported.
Emergency workers were sent to the site of the crash and were able to save three from the wreckage, the regional branch of emergencies ministry said. The three were admitted to a hospital in Novy Urengoy, AFP quoted the investigators as saying.
Rescue teams found the two black boxes of the ill-fated helicopter in Russia's northwestern Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region in Siberia, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.
"Both black boxes have been found - a flight data recorder and a voice recorder. After investigative procedures, they will be sent for decryption," Russia's RIA Novosti news agency quoted a source from Russia's Federal Agency for Air Transport (Rosaviatsia) as saying. The source also said there were 22 passengers and three crew members aboard when the helicopter made the crash landing.
The Investigative Committee speculated that flight safety rules could have been violated, a mechanical problem in the helicopter or rough weather could have caused the crash. They have launched a probe to scrutinise possible safety violations.
Xinhua put the death toll at 21 and said three others were rescued after the plane crashed due to 'poor weather conditions'.
A local search and rescue team of 140 people was dispatched to the site of the accident by the local emergency department, according to Xinhua. The emergencies ministry said fog and lack of visibility caused difficulties during the search and rescue operation.