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Russian airline says 18 killed in Siberian helicopter crash

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The hole in ground that appeared in Russia

A Russian helicopter crashed shortly after takeoff in Siberia on Saturday, killing all 18 people aboard.

It was carrying 15 passengers and three crew members, the Emergencies Ministry said.

Picture: SuppliedAll passengers were believed to have been working for a subsidiary of the state oil company Rosneft.

'The Mi-8AMT carrying passengers-shift workers-to an oil pumping station was the second to takeoff'. It added that the helicopter was manufactured in Russian Federation in 2010, and the pilot had flown almost 6,000 hours.

Law enforcers said that all possible versions were under consideration, including a crew error and equipment failure.

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"The first take-off was carried out by an Mi-8 with an external cargo suspension without passengers on board", the ministry said in a statement.

The second helicopter involved landed safely. 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.

A spokesman for the emergency team said two flight recorders had been found at the site of the crash. Meanwhile, black boxes from the Mi-8 have already been retrieved from the crash site, but their condition is yet unclear.

Eighteen people have died in the crash.

The Mi-8, flying at an altitude of about 328 feet, hooked rotor blades with the cargo of a Mi-26 helicopter of the same company flying nearby before the crash, a report on Investigative Committee's website said.

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