At least 19 people were killed and three others severely injured when a Russian helicopter crashed in northwestern Siberia on Friday afternoon [local time]. The Mi-8 helicopter with 22 people on board was flying from Siberia's Krasnoyarsk to the town of Urengoy in the Yamalo-Nenetsky region, reported AFP.

Around 140 rescue workers, two rescue helicopters, and paramedics were sent to the crash site. However, officials of the Emergencies Ministry said that fog and poor visibility conditions have affected search and rescue operations. They said that rescue workers managed to save three people who have now been sent to a hospital in Novy Urengoy.

According to reports, the helicopter was mangled, but did not explode. According to RIA Novosti, the helicopter's two black boxes were found to be “in good condition”. However, officials of Russia’s Investigative Committee could not confirm what cause the crash. They said it could be because of a violation of flight safety regulations, a mechanical snag or difficult weather conditions. A criminal inquiry has been initiated.

In November last year, a similar crash outside the Siberian town of Igarka had claimed 15 lives. Ten others were injured in the Mi-8 crash.