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19 people aboard helicopter crashed in northern Russia - police

Two taken to hospital

MOSCOW, June 01, /ITAR-TASS/. Nineteen people were aboard a helicopter Mil Mi-8 that crashed in northern Russia’s Murmansk Region, the press service of the regional police department told Itar-Tass on Sunday.

“According to preliminary reports, a helicopter Mi-9 could have been carrying up to 19 people, including five crewmembers and 14 passengers,” regional police said.

Earlier, the national emergency response centre of the Ministry of Emergency reported that the helicopter was carrying 18 people, including five crew members.

A forest ranger has presumably found two survivors in the crash and sent them to hospital, sources in regional law enforcement agencies told Itar-Tass.

“According to preliminary reports, a man has found them near Munozero and sent them to hospital,” the source said.

Bad weather could have caused the crash of a helicopter, a source in law enforcement agencies told Itar-Tass.

“According to preliminary reports, a helicopter Mi-8 of air company SPARK crashed on the lake near the settlement of Vostochnoye Munozero.

Situations told Itar-Tass earlier in the day, noting that “According to preliminary reports, two people survived and were taken to hospital. The fate of others is unclear,” the source said.

The crashed helicopter could have been carrying high-ranking regional officials and the general director of the world’s largest high-grade phosphate ore producer Apatit, regional law enforcement sources said.

“The helicopter could have presumably been carrying chief executives of several regional ministries and agencies, including the Apatit general director. But this information is being checking,” the source said.

Itar-Tass does not confirm officially this news report.

Search operation is in progress.

Meanwhile, the Murmansk regional emergency situation department noted that reports came at 10.57pm Moscow time (7.57pm BST) that the helicopter Mi-8 in Tersky district of the region did not go on the line. “The helicopter was to go on the line at 9.50pm Moscow time (6.50pm BST). A helicopter Mi-8 was dispatched for search overnight to Sunday,” the regional emergencies department said.