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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gun Found at Irkutsk Helicopter Crash

Fragments of a gun have been found among the debris of the helicopter that crashed last week, killing Irkutsk Governor Igor Yesipovsky and three others, rescue workers said Thursday.

The revelation has fueled speculation that Yesipovsky was on a hunting trip when his Bell 407 helicopter crashed May 10 in the Irkutsk region.

Hunting from helicopters is banned in Russia, though regional officials have said Yesipovsky was on official business when the aircraft went down, surveying the coast of Lake Baikal in connection with a new economic zone to be established there. "A weapon was on board, but it's hard to say which model it was, as it has been badly burned," said Vadim Reiter, head of the rescue team working at the crash scene, Interfax reported.

A spokesman for the Irkutsk governor's office told Interfax that the firearm did not necessarily indicate that the expedition was engaging in hunting. "The gun could have belonged to the bodyguard," the spokesman told Interfax.