10 dead, 1 missing in south Russia military helicopter crash-1

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At least 10 people were killed in a military helicopter crash in southern Russia on Monday and one person remains missing, an air force spokesman said Tuesday.
MOSCOW/VLADIKAVKAZ, September 12 (RIA Novosti) - At least 10 people were killed in a military helicopter crash in southern Russia on Monday and one person remains missing, an air force spokesman said Tuesday.

The Mi-8 Hip transport helicopter, with a three-man crew and 12 senior officers from the Defense Ministry and the headquarters of the North Caucasus military district on board, crashed near the North Ossetian capital of Vladikavkaz at 5:33 p.m. Moscow time (1:33 p.m. GMT) Monday.

"Ten bodies have been found at the helicopter crash site, four servicemen are in a hospital, one of them is in critical condition," Alexander Drobyshevsky said. "The fate of one serviceman is yet to be determined."

The North Caucasus military district prosecutor's office said Tuesday Lieutenant-General Pavel Yaroslavtsev, the deputy head of the logistics service of the Russian Armed Forces, and Lieutenant-General Viktor Gulyaev, the deputy head of the medical service of the Defense Ministry, had been killed in the crash.

A source in a special commission investigating the crash said bad weather was thought to have caused the crash.

"The helicopter was flying in poor visibility conditions," the source said. "It hit the tops of the trees at low altitude, lost control and crashed into a mountain."

The Mi-8 multi-purpose helicopter, similar to France's Puma, is the workhorse of the Russian helicopter fleet. But the helicopter has been involved in a number of crashes in recent years. Four people were killed in June when an Mi-8 crashed in Siberia, and 10 people were injured in July in a crash outside St. Petersburg.

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