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Nineteen die in Siberia helicopter crash


File photo of an Mi-8 helicopter. Nineteen people died Tuesday when a MI-8 helicopter crashed in the Russia's northern region of Yakutia, an aviation committee said. (ANP/AFP/Illustration)

Nineteen people died Tuesday when a MI-8 helicopter crashed in Russia's Yakutia region in eastern Siberia, the latest disaster to hit the country's accident-prone aviation industry, an aviation committee said.

"There were three crew members and 25 passengers on board," the Interstate Aviation Committee said in a statement. "Nineteen people died, the aircraft burnt down," said the statement, citing the surviving crew members.

Of the 25 passengers 11 were children, the emergencies ministry said in a separate statement without providing further details.

The people died when the helicopter performed a hard landing, apparently in bad weather conditions, 45 kilometres (28 miles) northwest of the small town of Deputatsky in the Yakutia region in Russia's north.

A plane with rescuers and medics on board has arrived at the crash site, said the emergencies ministry, adding that helicopters with more medics and rescue workers have also been dispatched to the scene.

Russia's aviation industry remains blighted by repeated accidents involving its ageing fleet of planes and helicopters.