Updated: 07/17/2014 18:32 | By Agence France-Presse

S.Korea helicopter crash kills five

A helicopter that had been searching for victims of South Korea's ferry disaster crashed Thursday in a residential district of Gwangju city, killing all five people on board, officials said.


S.Korea helicopter crash kills five

A South Korean Coast Guard helicopter takes off from its ship to search for missing passengers following the capsize of a ferry off Jindo on April 19, 2014 - by Jung Yeon-Je

There were no reported fatalities on the ground, but one high school student was injured by flying debris when the helicopter crashed shortly before 11:00 am (0200 GMT), narrowly missing nearby apartment blocks in the southern city.

Dramatic footage taken by a vehicle camcorder and broadcast on YTN television, showed the free-falling helicopter plunging nose-first into the ground, and exploding in a fireball on impact.

"Five people were on board and all are presumed dead," local fire chief Moon Ki-Shik told reporters at the scene, adding that the cause of the crash was not immediately clear.

The crew were returning from a mission to help in the search for missing victims of the April 16 Sewol ferry tragedy.

The 6,825-tonne Sewol sank in waters off the southwest coast on April 16 with 476 people on board -- most of them schoolchildren.

Three months later, divers and rescue teams are still searching for the bodies of a dozen victims that remain unaccounted for.

The aircraft was identified as a Eurocopter Dauphin 2, a twin-engine chopper produced by Airbus Helicopters.

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