The co-pilot of a Russian airliner has died in mid-air after "feeling unwell" during a flight from Bangkok to Moscow.

The captain is said to have tried to safely land the Boeing plane in China whilst efforts to keep the co-pilot, Sergey Golev, 44, alive were underway.

Senior investigator Anastasia Utochkina told Life News:"The captain made a decision to descend, while the crew called over the tannoy for a female physician who happened to be among the passengers. However, her attempts to re-animate the man, who was lying on the cockpit floor, failed."

Landing attempts in China failed and the decision was eventually taken to land at Novosibirsk airport in Russia.

Novosibirsk officials however are attempting to claim that the co-pilot was at no point in control of the flight and was travelling only as a passenger.

"The deceased pilot was traveling as an ordinary passenger," a press officer of Novosibirsk airport, told Life News. "The aircraft belongs to UTair airline, where Sergey Golev was employed. There was no threat to passengers."