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4 Killed in Siberian Helicopter Crash

Updated with revised death toll.

Four people have been killed and 12 injured in a Russian helicopter crash in southern Siberia’s republic of Altai, the region's emergencies ministry said Thursday.

The Mi-8 transport helicopter was approaching landing near the village of Tyungur not far from the border with Kazakhstan when it struck electric wires, the Altai emergencies ministry said in a statement. According to the state-run TASS news agency, the helicopter had been carrying tourists.

Four of the 16 people on board the helicopter were killed and 12 were injured, the ministry said. 

The ministry had first reported that six people were killed in the crash.

Two of the people it had initially reported as dead had in fact ejected from the aircraft before it crashed, the ministry told TASS. They are now in the hospital with "moderately severe" injuries.

The Mi-8 was operated by the Moscow-based cargo transportation company Altay Avia, according to Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia). 

Russia’s Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes, said it has opened a criminal investigation into air safety violations.

Russia has seen several deadly air disasters in recent years due to poor maintenance and lax safety standards.

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