18 feared dead in Russian chopper crash

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Moscow : Eighteen people are feared killed after an MI-8 helicopter crashed in the Krasnoyarsk region of Siberia, Russia, according to preliminary reports.

Russia's emergencies ministry said the MI-8 went down at 10.20 a.m., about 180km from the town of Igarka, the BBC reported.

The ministry provided no further details. Russian media quoted sources as saying that three crew members and 15 passengers were killed.

The helicopter was operated by the Utair airline, according to an emergency services source cited by TASS, a Russian news agency.

The helicopter is thought to have been taking workers to an oil well, when the crash occurred shortly after take-off.

Its fuel tanks were said to be full, resulting in an inferno that reportedly completely incinerated the aircraft, express.co.uk reported.

The cause of the crash was not immediately known.