KYIV, UKRAINE (WFLA) – A helicopter crash that occurred early Wednesday morning near a kindergarten outside of Kyiv has left 18 people dead, including Ukraine’s interior minister.
According to NBC News, nine people on board the emergency service helicopter died when it crashed in Brovery, a suburb just northeast of the capital.
Three children were killed in the crash along with Ukraine’s interior minister, Denys Monastyrsky, his deputy Yevhen Yenin, and the state secretary, Yurii Lubkovych, the outlet reported.
Officials stated that at least 29 people, including 15 children were being treated in hospitals. NBC stated the extent of their injuries “was not immediately clear.”
The head of the Kyiv Regional Military Administration, Oleksii Kuleba said the helicopter plummeted near a kindergarten and a residential building.
“At the time of the tragedy, children and employees of the institution were in the kindergarten. At this point, everyone was evacuated,” Kuleba told NBC.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said he ordered a special commission to lead an investigation into the cause of the crash, according to reports.
While speaking during a national telethon, the spokesperson for Ukraine’s Air Force Command, Yurii Ihnat stated that the commission would include several aviation experts and that it was too early to discuss the cause of the crash.
When news of the fatal crash broke, officials from around the globe began to pay tribute to the victims across social media.
The United States Ambassador to Ukraine, Bridget A. Brink shared her condolences on Twitter.
“Shocked and saddened by the terrible news from Brovary,” Brink shared. “My deepest condolences to the loved ones of Minister Monastyrskyi, First Deputy Yenin, and all those killed and hurt in this morning’s crash. Our hearts are with the Brovary community and our friends and partners at @MVS_UA.”
The tragic crash comes as the war between Russia and Ukraine approaches the 11-month mark.