(Update 2: downgrades death toll)
Lviv, Ukraine, Jan 18 (EFE).- The death toll from a helicopter crash near a kindergarten on the outskirts of Kyiv on Wednesday morning has been downgraded to 14, Ukrainian officials said, after initially saying 18 people had been killed in the incident.
“Following identification procedures, 14 people were found killed at the site, including one child and nine bodies of those who had been on board,” a statement by Ukraine’s State Emergency Service said, according to the official Ukrinform news agency.
At least 25 people, including 11 children, were injured and taken to hospital, the statement added.
Ukraine’s internal affairs minister Denys Monastyrskyi and several other senior officials were on board the helicopter, which crashed in the town of Bovary.
Monastyrskyi, 42, is the most senior official to have died since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine started in February 2022.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on his Telegram channel that the crash was a “terrible tragedy” and that “the pain is unspeakable.”
Zelenskyy’s office said that the helicopter was taking the senior officials to the front lines.
“The purpose (of the flight) was to make a working visit to one of the hot spots in our country,” deputy head of the president’s office Kyrylo Tymoshenko said at a briefing, adding that nine people were on board, including the minister and other senior officials, according to Ukrinform.
An “urgent” investigation into the incident is being conducted by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), according to Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Andriy Kostin.
“We are considering all possible versions of the helicopter crash,” Kostin said on Telegram.EFE