Russian Emergencies Minister Heads For Siberia to Probe Helicopter Crash

Russian Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu has set out to the city of Chita, in southern Siberia, to probe the helicopter crash that occurred here earlier today, the ministry's information department reports. Twelve people including four journalists are said to have been killed in the accident.

A Mi-26 helicopter, operated by the Emergencies Ministry, collapsed at 9 a.m., Moscow time, eight kilometres away from the village of Makkaveyevo, outside Chita. It was carrying fire fighters assigned to extinguish a wildfire blazing within a menacingly close distance from the Makkaveyevo village.

In an interview with the Russian television network NTV, Shoigu said the crash had probably been provoked by the water-pouring device's cable catching on the helicopter's tail propeller. According to an earlier revealed report, the Mi-26 caught on a power supply line.

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