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Mi-8 helicopter in Tuva crashed on steep mountain slope - ministry

August 08, 2015, 9:46 UTC+3 KYZYL
According to updated reports, there were from 12 to 14 people on board the ill-fated helicopter, which was believed to have crashed because of bad weather conditions
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KYZYL, August 8. /TASS/. A Mikoyan Mi-8 helicopter, which crashed in Russia’s Tuva in autumn of 2014, crashed on a steep mountain slope at the altitude of 2.4-2.6 thousand metres above the sea level, representative of the republic’s branch of the emergencies ministry Dmitry Kryzh said on Saturday as he came to the site.

"The slope there is very big - about 45 degrees," he said.

Because of the slope and the loose soil, the rescuers had to use special safety devices to get to the debris.

"Several rescuers went to the site of the tragedy," he said. "They saw that only a part of the tail and the engine’s speed reducer could be found there. We do not rule out an explosion could occurred there at the time of the crash."

It was only by chance, the rescuers found the debris. "They are not seen from air even if you fly very close to the ground," the representative said. "Most probably, after the crash the helicopter got covered by snow very quickly. On October 10, it was overcast there and it snowed."

A local road is seven kilometres from the site. Now the rescuers are waiting for more colleagues to discuss how to evacuate the debris of the helicopter.

Rescuers may start evacuating debris from Mi-8 helicopter crash found in Tuva only after investigators finish their work at the site, Russian Emergencies Ministry’s Siberian regional centre spokesman Alexey Khlapov told TASS on Saturday.

The remains of 10 people were found at the site, according to preliminary reports by law enforcement agencies. Earlier, Tuva’s Governor Sholban Kara-ool confirmed that debris of Mi-8 helicopter that crashed on 10 October 2014 has been found. "Unfortunately, they [crew and passengers] had no chance. The tragedy happened. Rescuers and investigators started working. We will announce mourning as soon as we learn the fate of every person. They were dignified people from Tuva and Khakassia," Sholban Kara-ool said.

Specialists from the Russian Emergencies Ministry’s National Crisis Management Centre have flown to the site of Mi-8 helicopter crash in Tuva, the ministry’s regional office told TASS on earlier on Saturday. A ground group of rescuers from Tuva’s rescue and search team has set off to the region of the Ulug-O River where the debris of the helicopter has been found.

Russian Emergencies Ministry’s rescuers also confirmed that they found debris of the crashed Mi-8 helicopter. "Debris of a helicopter found on the mountain Ulug-O on the border of Kyzylsky and Todzhinsky districts of Tuva belong to Tyva-Avia Air Company," Khlapov said.

Investigators started working to identify the reason of the crash.

Radio contact with the helicopter of Tyva-Avia Airline was lost on 10 October 2014 when it was on the way between the communities of Sorug and Kyzyl, located 270 kilometres away from each other. Specialists on board the helicopter were making aerial survey of snow levels. According to updated reports, there were from 12 to 14 people on board the ill-fated helicopter, which was believed to have crashed because of bad weather conditions. Local eyewitnesses saw it on that day flying in that direction amid strong winds.

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