Six killed in Azerbaijan helicopter crash

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BAKU, Oct 13 (Reuters) All six passengers and crew were killed in Azerbaijan when their helicopter crashed soon after taking off from an offshore oil platform, the state airline said in a statement today.

The helicopter, with four crew and two passengers on board, crashed into the Caspian Sea as it evacuated a sick worker from a platform operated by Azerbaijan's state oil company SOCAR yesterday.

''At 2228 ist last evening a Mi-8T helicopter was involved in an accident. Six people were killed. A search operation is underway,'' the Azal airline said in a statement.

Azerbaijan produces about 850,000 barrels of oil a day (bpd).

SOCAR accounts for about 150,000 bpd, while the rest comes from a BP-led consortium. The helicopter had been chartered by SOCAR.

REUTERS SKB KP1141

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