A Russian commercial helicopter flying from the Siberian region of Krasnoyarsk crashed shortly after take-off, killing 18 people aboard on Saturday.
The helicopter, operated by Utair airline, was carrying 15 passengers and three crew members and all were confirmed dead, the Russian news agency TASS quoted an emergency service source as saying.
The transport ministry said the Mi-8 helicopter, reportedly taking workers to an oilfield, went down when it collided with machinery carried by another helicopter soon after take-off.
The second aircraft landed safely and the accident took place in “normal” weather conditions, according to preliminary findings.
“After take-off, according to early reports, the Mi-8 carrying passengers knocked into the external cargo of the other helicopter, for reasons unknown. As a result it fell, broke apart and caught fire,” aviation watchdog Rosaviatsia said.
A criminal investigation was launched into possible neglect of aircraft safety guidelines.
The helicopters’ black boxes were recovered, appear undamaged, and will be sent to Moscow as part of the investigation, TASS reported.