Nineteen people died Tuesday when a MI-8 helicopter crashed in Russia’s Yakutia region in eastern Siberia, according to Fox News.
“There were three crew members and 25 passengers on board,” the Interstate Aviation Committee said in a statement. “Nineteen people died, the aircraft burnt down,” said the statement, citing the surviving crew members.
Among the 28 people aboard were 11 children below the age of 12, three of them below the age of three.
Rescuers were dispatched to the scene in two other Mi-8 helicopters while an emergencies ministry jet was reportedly sent from the far eastern city of Khabarovsk carrying both rescuers and psychologists according to BBC.
Reports say that the helicopter had performed a hard landing in bad weather conditions. They were 28 miles northwest of the small town of Deputatsky in the Yakutia region in Russia’s north.
In May, a missing plane had been found in Russia’s Urals Mountains by two hunters almost a year after the craft had first disappeared.
The Siberia plane crash occurred at around 10:40 (23:40 GMT Monday) as the helicopter was flying from Deputatsky to another village, Kazachye according to BBC.
“The main theory at this time is difficult weather conditions,” a regional police source told Russia’s Interfax news agency.
“The helicopter was literally pressed into the slope of the hill by strong, descending air currents.”
A spokesman for the regional government in Yakutia, Afanasy Yegorov, said the helicopter was performing a regular passenger flight from the town of Deputatsky to the town of Kazachye and was flying over a mountain range when a downward stream of air pushed it to the ground.
The Siberia plan crash killed at least 19 people while on a routine flight, only one of many air casualties involving aging fleets of planes and helicopters.