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Helicopter With Emergency Officials Crashes in Siberia

A helicopter with nine people aboard, including regional Emergency Situations Ministry officials, crashed in eastern Siberia on Monday, the ministry said, and Itar-Tass reported it was also carrying two tons of explosives used to blow up ice on frozen rivers.

Debris from the Mi-8 helicopter was spotted in the Irkutsk region later in the day. Interfax reported that search-and-rescue teams had found human remains and that it was unclear whether there were any survivors.

Accidents involving Mi-8 aircraft are frequent in Russia, which has been criticized for its poor air safety record. The Soviet-designed helicopter is widely used for ferrying people and cargo to remote areas of Russia.

A representative of the Irkutsk regional government said the helicopter had undergone all the necessary inspections before its flight Monday and was being flown by an experienced crew, Interfax reported. Search efforts were expected to continue around the scene of the crash on Tuesday.

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