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Helicopter smash in Siberia kills 18 people

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By Chris Harris  with Reuters
Credit: @CHP.KRAS
Credit: @CHP.KRAS

Eighteen people have been killed in a helicopter crash in Siberia as they were heading to work at an oil-pumping station.

The aircraft collided with the cargo of another helicopter as it was taking off on Saturday morning, according to Russia’s aviation watchdog.

It was carrying 15 workers on their way to the Vankor oil field and three crew members.

The crew of the cargo-carrying helicopter were not injured and there was no adverse weather conditions, said Rosaviatsia.

A commission has been set up to investigate the crash.

The helicopters' black boxes have been recovered, appear undamaged and will be sent to Moscow as part of the investigation, TASS news agency said, citing law enforcement agencies.

The other helicopter landed safely after the incident. The two aircraft were owned by UTair-Helicopter Services, a unit of Russian airline UTair.

In Russia, the helicopter operator predominantly works with oil and gas companies, transporting people and cargo for clients including Gazprom, Shell and Rosneft. It also works around the world on United Nations contracts, according to the company's website.