10 dead in Kazakhstan helicopter crash: official | world | Hindustan Times
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10 dead in Kazakhstan helicopter crash: official

world Updated: Sep 09, 2009 02:14 IST

Ten border guards were killed and three injured on Tuesday when a Kazakh patrol helicopter crashed while pursuing suspected gunmen near the Uzbek border, officials said.

Kazakhstan's KNB state security service, which is responsible for border guards in the ex-Soviet state, did not give details about the cause of the crash of the Mi-8 chopper in a remote mountainous region.

"The burned remains of the helicopter have been found. The area around where the helicopter crashed has been fully searched and no other survivors have been found," the KNB said in a statement quoted by Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency.

The dead included one colonel, two majors, two captains and five conscripts. The statement said that the three wounded had been taken to the hospital in Shymkent, the main city in the South Kazakhstan region.

No further details were given about the condition of the survivors or the cause of the crash.

The troops were headed to the border with neighbouring Uzbekistan when the helicopter went down, after Kazakhstan received information from Tashkent about an illegal armed group operating in the area.

A string of incidents, from a suicide bombing in Uzbekistan in May to gun battles with suspected militants in Tajikistan this summer, have ratcheted up tensions in this predominantly Muslim region near war-torn Afghanistan.