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Helicopter Crashes in Kyrgyzstan, 15 Presumed Dead

October 5, 1995

SASKATOON, Saskatchewan (AP) _ A helicopter carrying 15 people, including nine Canadians, crashed into a fog-shrouded mountain range in Central Asia. All aboard were presumed dead.

The chopper, chartered by a Saskatoon-based mining company, was flying Wednesday afternoon in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan when it disappeared, said Rita Mirwald, spokeswoman for Cameco Corp.

``The wreckage was spotted by helicopter on a ledge on a cliff,″ Mirwald said today. ``We have not been able to get to the wreckage, but there are no signs of survivors.″

Ground and air rescue crews attempting to get to the wreckage ``could take some time″ because of the precarious site of the wreckage on a cliff ledge.

The helicopter was one of two choppers ferrying workers from a remote gold mine project to Bishkek, the Kyrgyz capital.

``There was visual contact until they hit a bank of fog and snow,″ said Mirwald. ``One emerged and one did not.″

On board were three Kyrgyz crew members and 12 workers at the mine being built jointly by a Cameco subsidiary and the Kyrgyz government. In addition to the nine Canadians, two Britons and a Turk were aboard.

The workers, who generally spend weeks living at the job site, were on the first leg of their trip home.

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