19 Killed After Ukrainian Helicopter Crashes in Black Sea

A helicopter belonging to Ukraine's state gas company has crashed into the Black Sea, killing 19 people, a company official said Monday.

The Mi-8 helicopter went down around 0630 GMT as it was trying to land, said Valentyn Zemlyansky, a spokesman for the company, Naftogaz.

One person survived the crash, he said.

The ITAR-Tass news agency reported that most of the passengers were employees of the gas company who were headed for an offshore drilling rig.

The Mi-8 is a workhorse helicopter used widely in civilian aviation and the military in the former Soviet Union. Crashes occur frequently and are often blamed on poor maintenance and excessive age.

Last month, Ukrainian border guards helicopter crashed into the Black Sea, killing 12 people.