Nineteen persons have been feared dead after a helicopter carrying oil workers crashed in northern Russia.
The country’s Air Transport Agency, in a statement, on Saturday, said that 16 of the 19 passengers – mostly oil and gas workers – on board and all three crew members died in Friday’s crash in northern Russia.
The Mi-8 helicopter was traveling from Vankor to Staryi Urengoi in the Yamalo-Nenets region when it crashed about 45 kilometers (28 miles) northeast of Staryi Urengoi.
The helicopter “fell on its right side and the victims could not get out,” a military spokesman said.
Three survivors were flown to the hospital but fog and poor visibility had hindered search and rescue operations, according to officials.
Rescuers found the helicopter lying on its side in the tundra. The agency said poor visibility and strong winds could have been factors.
The governor of Yamalo-Nenets, Dmitry Kobylkin, announced a day of mourning on Saturday with flags lowered and entertainment events cancelled, calling the accident a source of “great sorrow for all of us”.
Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, expressed his condolences to the relatives and friends of those who died, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.