Moscow – AFP
A helicopter carrying 16 people, including 13 tourists, crashed on Thursday on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the far east of Russia.
The report said the MI-8 helicopter crashed into Kuril Lake in the Kronotsky Nature Reserve, and about 40 rescuers and divers rushed to the scene of the accident.
According to initial reports, “three crew members and 13 passengers” were on board the helicopter, all of them tourists, the report said.
A source from the local health ministry said nine people had been rescued and added to the Russian Interfax news agency: “Nine have been found, all of them are still alive,” and search and rescue operations are still ongoing, with the fate of the remaining seven passengers still unknown.
Russia’s intelligence agency has said it has launched an investigation into alleged violations of aviation safety rules.
The Vidyas-Aero helicopter was carrying tourists to the volcanic Kodutka near the town of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.
Kamsatka is a vast area inhabited by some people, but it is also an important tourist destination due to its volcanoes and beautiful scenery.
In early July, 19 people were killed in a plane crash of a small local company on the peninsula.
Russia has a poor safety record, but Russian aviation standards have improved dramatically since 2000, as large airlines replaced their old Soviet-era aircraft with more modern aircraft, but maintenance problems and sluggish compliance with aviation safety regulations have been major obstacles.
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