Nineteen people were killed and three more hospitalized after an Mi-8 helicopter crash-landed on Russia’s Yamal Peninsula in northwestern Siberia, Russian Emergencies Ministry has confirmed.
Reports from the ground say that the helicopter was badly damaged upon landing and fell onto its side, but did not explode. Poor visibility was being reported on the ground.
Reports of the Mi-8 helicopter crash-landing 80 kilometers northwest of the settlement of Urengoy came in late Friday local time. The helicopter, belonging to the Skol air company, was flying to the Suzumskoye oil and gas field in Russia’s Krasnoyarsk region, TASS reported. The airworthiness certificate of the helicopter, which was manufactured in 1984, was valid until 2017, according to the Federal Air Transport Agency.
An investigation has been launched under Part 3 of article 263 of the criminal code entitled “Violation of safety rules and operation of air transport, resulting in the death of two or more persons,” TASS reported, citing the Investigation Committee.
“The investigation deals with three main versions of the crash of the aircraft: a violation of the rules of operation and flight safety, equipment failure, and adverse weather conditions. None of these is so far regarded as most likely,” the Investigation Committee said in a statement.
Criminologists from the central office of Russia’s Investigative Committee will be taking part in the investigation, as well as experts from the Interstate Aviation Committee.