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Helicopter crash in northern Russia kills 19 oil workers and crew

24 October 2016

An Mi-8 helicopter travelling from the Vankor oil and gas field in the Siberian region of Krasnoyarsk to Staryi Urengoi in the Yamalo-Nenets region crashed near its destination killing 16 of the 19 passengers on board and all three crew. Three passengers survived. Rescuers found the helicopter lying on its side in the tundra. 

Mi-8 helicopter - Image: Skol Airline
Mi-8 helicopter - Image: Skol Airline

The aircraft, owned by Skol Airline, was transporting workers from a subcontractor of the Russian oil giant Rosneft, the Tass news agency reported.

The Russian Federal Aviation Agency said poor visibility and strong winds could have been causative factors. 

It took rescuers seven hours to reach the crash site amid fog and poor visibility. The three survivors, one of whom alerted the authorities about the crash via his mobile phone, were flown to hospital.

The twin-engined Mi-8 series is the most successful Russian helicopter model, with more than 12,000 produced since it was first built in the late 1960s.

In July 2013, an Mi-8 carrying 25 passengers crashed in a remote area of eastern Siberia, killing 21 people. In June 2014, 16 people died after an Mi-8 with 18 people on board plunged into Lake Munozero, near Murmansk, in northern Russia.

And in November 2015, 15 people died when an Mi-8 crashed near Igarka in western Siberia, while another 10 were injured.

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