Mi-8 Collides With Mi-26 Sling Load: 18 Dead

The investigation continues into Saturday’s fatal crash of a 2010 Mil Mi-8 helicopter operated by UTAir that killed all 18 aboard shortly after takeoff in Siberia. Eyewitness accounts indicate the helicopter collided with an external sling load of a larger UTAir Mi-26 helicopter at around 300 feet agl while climbing out from a helipad in Vankor, 1,600 miles northeast of Moscow.

The 15 passengers aboard the Mi-8 were area oil workers employed by state-owned Rosneft. The helicopter carried a crew of three. Weather at the time of the crash was reported as “normal.”

The Mi-26 landed safely after the accident. Both flight recorders from the crashed helicopter have been recovered and are being analyzed by the Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK) and Rosaviatsiya, Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency. The accident was one of the worst for an Mi-8 since the July 2013 crash of a Polar Airlines helicopter near Deputatsky that killed 24 when it failed to clear mountainous terrain shortly after departure. Another Mi-8 crashed last October offshore near Barentsburg, Norway killing all eight aboard in visibility conditions described as poor.