6 Killed in Siberian Helicopter Crash

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Six people have been killed and seven injured in a Russian helicopter crash in southern Siberia’s republic of Altai, the region's emergencies ministry said Thursday.

The Mi-8 transport helicopter was approaching landing near the village of Tyungur not far from the border with Kazakhstan when it struck electric wires, the Altai emergencies ministry said in a statement.

Six out of the 13 people on board were killed and seven others injured, it added.

Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia) later said there were 13 passengers and three crew members on board the helicopter.

A regional official disputed the Altai Emergency Situations Ministry’s injury figures, telling Interfax they witnessed 10 surviving victims “lying next to the helicopter” with significant burn wounds.

The official said the six people killed in the incident were inside the helicopter.

The official told Interfax the helicopter was “completely destroyed.”

The Mi-8 was operated by the Moscow-based cargo transportation company Altay Avia, according to Rosaviatsia. 

Russia’s Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes, said it has opened a criminal investigation into air safety violations.

Russia has seen several deadly air disasters in recent years due to poor maintenance and lax safety standards.

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