Russian helicopter crash kills 18 in Siberia

Ground video from crash site of helicopter in Russia Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The helicopter burst into flames

Eighteen people have died in a Russian helicopter crash in north-western Siberia, officials say.

Russia's emergencies ministry said the MI-8 went down at 10:20 local time (03:20 GMT), about 180km (112 miles) from the town of Igarka, in Krasnoyarsk Territory.

All those on board - three crew members and 15 passengers - were killed.

The helicopter was reportedly taking workers to an oil station. A criminal investigation is under way.

Initial assessments have suggested that the aircraft's blades struck cargo being carried by another helicopter just after take-off. It fell to the ground and burst into flames.

The second helicopter was able to land safely.

Image copyright EPA/HELI.UTAIR.RU
Image caption Two MI-8 helicopters belonging to Utair are shown in a company handout photo

A government official, Svetlana Petrenko, said authorities were investigating allegations of negligence and whether safety guidelines had been violated.

Both aircraft belong to Russian national airline Utair.

The helicopter's black box flight recorders have been recovered and appear undamaged, Russian news agency TASS quoted law enforcement agencies as saying.

The Russian Transport Ministry said the incident happened in "normal" weather conditions.

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