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5 dead in a Mil Mi-8 helicopter crash landing in Tajikistan

5 dead in a Mil Mi-8 helicopter crash landing in Tajikistan
The Mi-8 helicopter had been taking mountaineers to Ismoili Somoni Peak, the highest in the former Soviet Union. (file photo)

A helicopter carrying climbers in Tajikistan crash-landed in the Central Asian nation’s mountains, killing five of the 18 people on board, a Tajik official said Monday.

During transportation of mountain climbers, who ascended to the Isomoili Somoni peak in Tajikistan, the Mi-8 helicopter had a heavy touchdown at the Fortambek glacier, the Emergency Committee of Tajikistan said.

The helicopter had a crash landing at the Fortambek glacier on August 12 at the height of 4,200 meters, spokesperson Umeda Yusufi said.

The Mi-8 helicopter crash-landed Sunday while flying in strong winds and poor visibility in the Pamir Mountains, said Umeda Yusupova, a spokeswoman for Tajikistan’s Emergencies Committee. It was carrying 13 Russians, one Belarusian and one Spaniard back to their camp after they had climbed the 7,495-meter (24,590-foot) Ismoil Somoni Peak.

Three of the dead were Russian mountaineers and two were Tajik members of the helicopter crew, Yusupova said.

The remaining 12 climbers and one crewmember were evacuated Monday by rescue helicopters. She said the survivors had sustained injuries and were given medical assistance.

The mountain, which was once called Stalin Peak and then changed in 1962 to Communism Peak, was the Soviet Union’s highest mountain. After the Soviet Union fell in 1991, it became part of the independent Central Asian nation of Tajikistan. It was renamed in 1998 after a ruler of the Samanid dynasty.

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