MOSCOW: 18 people were killed when a helicopter crashed on its way to an oil station in northern Siberia in the early hours of the morning.
The Russian Transport Ministry said the Mi-8 helicopter carrying three crew members and 15 passengers crashed when it collided with machinery carried by another helicopter soon after take-off.
It added that the second helicopter landed safely and that the accident took place in “normal” weather conditions.
“The first take-off was carried out by a Mi-8 with an external cargo suspension without passengers on board, the second take-off was performed with passengers who were workers on shifts at the oil station,” the ministry said in a statement.
“According to preliminary information, the Mi-8 carrying passengers for reasons unknown collided with the external suspension of the second helicopter after take-off. As a result, it fell, was destroyed and burned,” it added.
“Three crew members and 15 passengers died.”
The helicopter was operated by Russian national airline Utair, which has its head office in Khanty Mansiysk airport in western Siberia.