Russian helicopter crash in Siberia kills all 18 people onboard

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A firefighter works at the site of a Russian helicopter crash

A Russian airline says one of its helicopters has crashed shortly after takeoff in Siberia, killing all 18 people aboard.

The crashed helicopter was carrying 15 passengers and three crew, according to its operator, UTair airlines.

Fifteen passengers and three crew members aboard the helicopter were killed, a source at the emergency services told the state-owned TASS news agency.

Vankor is the region's largest oil field, operated by Russian oil company Rosneft.

Soon after take-off, the helicopter collided with the outside cargo that another helicopter was carrying, officials said, adding that the second helicopter landed safely after ditching its cargo.

The helicopter fell apart and caught fire, according to the statement.

"The second take-off was performed with passengers who were workers on shifts at the oil station".

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It added that the pilot was born in 1985 and was trained at the Omsk Aviation School in southwestern Siberia. The helicopter flew 2 kilometre before it crashed.

A spokesman for the emergency team said two flight recorders had been found at the site of the crash.

Russia's transport ministry said it created a commission to investigate the crash and that the vice director of the Federal Air Transport Agency was on his way to the site. The criminal investigators of the Main Directorate of Criminalistics of Russia's Investigative Committee were sent to the scene, the committee said in a statement.

Helicopters frequently carry loads in slings that hang below the craft.

A picture of a Russian helicopter MI-8, the same type that crashed on its way to an oil station in Siberia.

The Criminal Investigation Department of Russian Federation continues to investigate the crash under the criminal code for violation of safety rules that resulted in the death of two or more persons by negligence, Kommersant reported.

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