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Helicopter Crash Injures 7 Firemen in Heilongjiang
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A helicopter carrying fire fighters crashed and fell into a forest Monday afternoon in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, leaving seven aboard injured, a national civil aviation source confirmed.

The Mi-8 helicopter was sending fire extinguishing workers to a forest fire site in Heihe City when it crashed into a forest 70 kilometers west of Heihe at around 1:30 PM due to its hydraulic system failure, the source with the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China said.

Seventeen people were on board when the crash happened. The pilot was seriously injured and six others had slight injuries, the source said, adding that the rest were safe.

The northeast administration bureau under the general administration has dispatched a team to the crash site for investigation and dealing with the aftermath, according to the source.

The helicopter was managed by the Xinjiang Kaiyuan General Aviation Company, the source added.

The General Administration of Civil Aviation of China has ordered general aviation companies across the country to stop flying and check safety for a week, the source said.

A forest fire broke out in Heihe City Monday morning. Firemen and forestry workers are still fighting the fire at the site, the local forestry source said.

(Xinhua News Agency May 9, 2006)

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