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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

10 Soldiers Dead in Mi-8 Crash

YUZHNY, North Ossetia -- Ten federal servicemen died Monday when a military helicopter crashed as it ferried a party of senior officers in North Ossetia, an Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman said.

Islamic insurgents have shot down helicopters in the North Caucasus in the past. But Vesti 24 television said the Mi-8 crashed after losing its bearings in fog and clipping trees with its rotors.

A Reuters witness at the scene said he saw an unconscious man with serious head injuries and wearing a general's uniform being carried on a stretcher out of the wooded area where the helicopter came down.

Residents of the village of Yuzhny said they had heard an explosion and then saw flames. The site, reached along dirt roads, was cordoned off by troops.

"Four people have been taken to the hospital in Vladikavkaz. Three bodies can be identified, seven bodies have been badly burned," said Vladimir Ivanov, spokesman for the local branch of the Emergency Situations Ministry.

He said it was too early to speculate about the cause of the crash.

Those on board included the deputy head of logistics for the federal armed forces and several of his subordinates, Interfax reported. They were taking part in a training exercise, it said.

The crash site is near Vladikavkaz, the capital of North Ossetia.