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Ukraine chopper crashes in Black Sea, killing 19

/ Source: The Associated Press

A helicopter belonging to Ukraine’s state gas company crashed into the Black Sea, leaving 19 people dead, a company official said Monday.

The Mi-8 helicopter went down around 2:30 a.m. EDT as it was trying to land, said Valentyn Zemlyansky, a spokesman for the company, Naftogaz. One person survived, he said.

The ITAR-Tass news agency reported that most of the passengers were employees of the gas company who were headed for an offshore drilling rig.

The Mi-8 is a workhorse helicopter used widely in civilian aviation and the military in the former Soviet Union. Crashes occur frequently and are often blamed on poor maintenance and excessive age.

Last month, Ukrainian border guards in a helicopter crashed into the Black Sea, killing 12 people.