A helicopter carrying 13 tourists and three crew members crashed early on August 12 on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia’s Far East, the Russian Emergencies Ministry said.
Russian media reports said there were a number of survivors and a rescue operation is under way to search for others. The ministry said the 16 people were aboard the Mi-8 helicopter when it went down in the Kronotsky Nature Reserve. There were eight survivors, according to the state news agency RIA Novosti. Interfax said seven survived, and the search for others was ongoing. The news agency reported that the helicopter was carrying 14 tourists and three crew members when it went down in heavy fog. The Emergencies Ministry quoted the regional administration as saying the helicopter plunged into the Kuril Lake in a volcano crater and the rescue workers in boats were searching for other survivors. According to the press service of the Kronotsky Nature Reserve, the helicopter belongs to the Vityaz-Aero company. Vityaz-Aero has been operating since 2009 and has a fleet of more than 20 Mi-8 helicopter, TASS reported. It operates flights to remote areas of Kamchatka, including passenger transportation of tourists to hard-to-reach areas.
The helicopter crash comes just over a month after a Russian plane crashed on Kamchatka peninsula, killing 28 people on board. Officials blamed that crash on pilot error.