Two killed in Russian helicopter crash: official

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Two people died late Saturday when an Mi-2 helicopter crashed in Russia's southern republic of Kalmykia, officials said.

The helicopter crashed and burst into flames soon after take-off at 1900 GMT, killing the pilot and the engineer, Oleg Grekov, spokesman for the emergencies ministry's southern branch, told AFP on Sunday.

The Interfax news agency reported that earlier Saturday the pilot had had to carry out an emergency landing, drop off his passengers and make repairs after experiencing engine trouble, but the emergencies ministry could not confirm the report.

Accidents involving Russian aircraft are relatively common and often blamed on poor maintenance and disregard for safety rules.

© 2011 AFP

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