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At least 19 reported killed in helicopter crash in Russia

Air Transportation DisastersTransportation DisastersRussiaNews AgencyNATO

At least 19 people were killed when a helicopter crashed Tuesday in a remote region of eastern Russia, according to local news reports.

The Mi-8 helicopter was carrying 25 passengers, including 11 children, and three crew members on a routine flight between villages in the Siberian region of Yakutia, aviation officials told Russia’s RIA-Novosti news agency. 

The agency quoted the Interstate Aviation Committee, an oversight body, as saying that 19 people were killed. Other officials put the toll as high as 23.

But a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Emergency Situations told the Itar-Tass news agency that the casualty figures could not be confirmed immediately because rescue teams had not yet reached the crash site.

Bad weather forced rescue workers to land more than nine miles away and continue on the ground, news report said.

The helicopter reportedly went down in strong winds, about 40 miles from its departure point in the village of Deputatsky.

Helicopters are a frequent mode of transportation in the rugged region.

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