Mongolia helicopter crash kills 14, 8 survive

Mongolia helicopter crash kills 14, 8survive

17 June 2007

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Ulan Bataar, Mongolia — A firefighting helicopter that had been missing forseveral days crashed in north-central Mongolia, killing 14 people, a governmentofficial said Monday.

Eight passengers survived the crash, Emergency Minister S. Otgonbayar said,adding that some of the trapped passengers would need to be cut out of thehelicopters’ mangled wreckage.

“Doctors and nurses have been sent to the crash site to give assistanceand a rescue team is working at the site,” Otgonbayar said.

The crash site was found Saturday after authorities lost contact with theRussian-made Mi-8 helicopter on Wednesday Otgonbayar said.

The helicopter crashed into a mountain, making rescue work difficult, he toldreporters. The dead included two of the three pilots on board.

The helicopter had been taking firefighters and equipment to a forest fire inSelenge province when it disappeared from radar screens Wednesday, Otgonbayarsaid.

Relatives of the victims complained to reporters that the government did notmount a search for the helicopter until Friday, and that officials initiallyreported that the helicopter had landed safely after running short of fuel.

“My brother survived, but we want to know why they did not immediatelystart rescue operations after they lost contact with the helicopter,” oneman, who uses just a single name, Ganholog, said to reporters.

No other details were immediately available.

The helicopter belonged to the Mongolia’s Defense Ministry.

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