MOSCOW, July 19 (RIA Novosti) - A civilian helicopter owned by a Russian company crashed on take off at a NATO air base in southern Afghanistan on Sunday, killing 15 people, the Russian Aviation Agency said.
"A Mi-8 helicopter owned by the Vertical-T air company crashed during takeoff from the Kandahar air field in Afghanistan. There were 17 passengers and three crew members on board. Fifteen passengers have died," the agency said.
The crew and the two surviving passengers were taken to hospital, the agency said. The nationalities of the victims have not yet been reported.
The AFP news agency quoted the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) as saying in a statement: "The number of injuries has yet to be confirmed. Emergency personnel are on the scene. There was no indication of the cause of the accident but insurgent action has been ruled out."
An investigation into the crash is being conducted by the air base administration and the Interstate Aviation Committee.