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Helicopter crash death toll rises

The death toll from a Vietnamese military helicopter crash that happened on a parachute training mission has risen to 18, with three others being treated for serious injuries.

The Russian-made MI-171 helicopter came down yesterday morning about 15 minutes after take-off in a small village about 24 miles west of Hanoi.

Officials said after the crash that 16 people were killed and five were seriously injured, but an official at the National Burns Hospital said today that two of the survivors had died and that the three remaining survivors were in critical condition.

Reports in the state-controlled media said 16 of those on board were parachute recruits from the air force's helicopter regiment. There were also two trainers and three crew members on board.

The MI-171 helicopter is primarily a transport aircraft, but there is also a gunship version.

Vietnam buys most of its military hardware from Russia, the country's cold war ally. Some of it dates back more than 20 years.

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