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Five Killed In Helicopter Crash In Russia's Far East

(RFE/RL) 6 December 2005 -- A civilian helicopter crashed today in the Khabarovsk Krai of Russia's Far East, killing five people on board.

A spokesman from Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry said the helicopter crashed shortly after taking off from the city of Nikolaevsk-na-Amur. The Mi-8 helicopter was found lying on its side in an estuary of the Amur River.

The helicopter was on a mission to pick up patients from a hospital in Bogorodskoe. Two doctors were killed in the crash, along with three crewmembers.

It was not clear if they were the only people on board, or what caused the helicopter to crash.

Mi-8 helicopters are used for both military and civilian flights. Due to aging crafts and poor maintenance, there have been a growing number of accidents involving the Mi-8 in recent years.