Mongolia helicopter crash kills 14

Mongolia helicopter crash kills 14

18 June 2007

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Ulan Bator, Mongolia — A helicopter on a firefighting mission has crashed innorthern Mongolia, killing 14 people and critically injuring four of the eightsurvivors, the Mongolian government said on Monday.

The helicopter, a Russian-made Mi-8, crashed into a forest glade on Thursdayand split in two on impact.

Search and rescue operations were hampered by rain and fog, delaying firstconfirmation of the crash until Sunday, the government’s State Emergency Agencysaid.

The survivors, aged between 20 and 59, suffered burns, broken bones andexposure. They had to walk several kilometres (miles) to reach a rescuehelicopter, which had been unable to get closer to the crash site.

The injured arrived in Ulan Bator for treatment on Monday.

The pilot was among the survivors, but was still in shock and had yet toprovide information on what caused the crash, the government said.

Relatives of the passengers complained that the helicopter had been orderedto fly in bad weather, allegations that the government denied.

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