A helicopter crash near a kindergarten in the Kyiv region has killed at least 18 people, including Ukraine’s entire interior ministry leadership team, according to officials.
At least 29 others were injured in the incident on Wednesday in the city of Brovary, on the outskirts of Ukraine’s capital, according to Oleksiy Kuleba, head of the Kyiv Regional Military Administration.
Interior Minister Denis Monastyrsky, First Deputy Minister Yevheniy Yenin and Secretary of State Yuriy Lubkovychis died in the crash, Anton Geraschenko, a ministry adviser, confirmed on social media, while describing those on the helicopter as “patriots of Ukraine.”
The nine people onboard the aircraft died, while the other casualties were locals “bringing their children to the kindergarten,” said Kyrylo Tymoshenko, head of the Ukrainian Presidential Administration.
Kuleba, speaking alongside Tymoshenko at the scene to reporters, added “there is currently no information on the number of missing children. Identification is ongoing. Parents are coming, lists are being compiled.”
A CNN team on the ground in the Kyiv region noted gray skies and very low visibility.
The helicopter that has crashed was a Eurocopter EC225 “Super Puma,” a CNN producer has confirmed after seeing remnants of flight manuals among the debris.
It landed near a kindergarten and a residential building, Kuleba said earlier.
“At the time of the tragedy, there were children and the staff in the kindergarten. At the moment, everyone was evacuated,” he wrote on Telegram.
Paramedics, the police and firefighters are responding at the scene, he added.