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Mi-8 helicopter crash in Kazakhstan kills 13 service members on board

A military helicopter has crashed in southwestern Kazakhstan, killing all 13 servicemen on board, the defense ministry said Thursday.

The crash involving the Russian-made Mi-8 aircraft occurred on Wednesday, March 27, the ministry said in a statement.

“13 servicemen were killed … while performing their military duty,” it said.

According to the Aviation Safety Network database, which documents open-source reporting on aircraft incidents, the helicopter crashed around 5:35 p.m. local time (1235 GMT) in the Zhalagash district of the Kyzylorda Oblast.

Kazakhstan’s new president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev tweeted that he had ordered an investigation into the crash.

A Soviet-era workhorse first built in the 1960s, the Mi-8 helicopter is widely used to transport passengers and supplies to remote sites.

It has been involved in a number of recent accidents. In August last year, 18 people were killed in a crash in Siberia.

Last month an Ethiopian Mi-8 crashed inside a United Nations compound in the disputed region between Sudan and South Sudan, killing three crew members.

The defense ministry said on Thursday that the families of those killed would receive compensation.

Tokayev became Kazakhstan’s president last week following the shock resignation of long-ruling 78-year-old strongman Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has retained key decision-making powers in the Central Asian country of 18 million.

With reporting from AFP

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