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5 killed as helicopter searching for South Korea ferry victims crashes

Published on Jul 17, 2014 5:31 PM
 
Firefighters inspect the wreckage of a helicopter which crashed near an apartment complex in Gwangju on July 17, 2014. A helicopter that had been searching for victims of South Korea's ferry disaster crashed on Thursday, July 17, 2014, in a residential district of Gwangju city, killing all five people on board, officials said. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL (AFP) - A helicopter that had been searching for victims of South Korea's ferry disaster crashed on Thursday in a residential district of Gwangju city, killing all five people on board, officials said.

There were no reported fatalities on the ground, but one high school student was injured by flying debris when the helicopter crashed shortly before 11am, narrowly missing nearby apartment blocks in the southern city.

Dramatic footage taken by a vehicle camcorder and broadcast on YTN television, showed the free-falling helicopter plunging nose-first into the ground, and exploding in a fireball on impact. "Five people were on board and all are presumed dead," local fire chief Moon Ki Shik told reporters at the scene, adding that the cause of the crash was not immediately clear.

The crew were returning from a mission to help in the search for missing victims of the April 16 Sewol ferry tragedy.

 
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