updated 1/26/2005 10:53:05 PM ET 2005-01-27T03:53:05

A Vietnamese military helicopter crashed in northern Vietnam shortly after takeoff, killing all 16 people aboard, officials said Thursday.

A loud explosion was heard just minutes after the Russian-made helicopter took off from Me Island off the coast of Thanh Hoa province Wednesday afternoon, officials of Nghe An province said.

The bodies of three crew members and 13 military officers, including the commander of Military Zone 4 based in Nghe An and his deputy, have been recovered.

The military is investigating the cause of the crash.

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