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Nineteen out of 28 passengers were killed after a Russian MI-8 helicopter crashed in the Yakutia region of Siberia. Almost half of the victims are children.
At least nineteen people were killed in Siberia's northern Yakutia region after a Russian M1-8 helicopter carrying 28 people crashed on Tuesday.
"There were three crew members and 25 passengers on board," the Interstate Aviation Committee said in a statement, according to Al Jazeera. "Nineteen people died, the aircraft burnt down."
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Eleven of the 25 passengers on board the Polar Airlines M1-8 aircraft were children, noted Agence France-Presse, although the Russian emergencies ministry didn't provide further information about their ages or identities.
"Don't be in a hurry to bury the people," said regional Yakutia government spokesman Afanasy Yegorov to AFP, noting that he knew some of the passengers who are said to have been killed.
The crash occurred as the helicopter made a hard landing near the town of Deputatsky in the remote Yakutia region of Siberia, far from nearby settlements.
Although weather conditions remain poor, Al Jazeera reported that 240 rescuers and eight aircraft were deployed to Siberia to assist with rescue and recovery.
The crash site is reportedly extremely difficult for rescue teams to reach: they had to land their aircraft 18 miles away and make the rest of the journey on all-terrain vehicles, according to AFP.
Russia's aviation safety record continues to be poor, with aging aircraft and low safety standards blamed for many of the deadly crashes that take place there — almost three times the international average for aviation-related fatalities, according to International Air Transport Association figures.