Tourist helicopter crashes in Russian crater lake; 8 missing

12th August, 2021.      //   General Interest  // 

537068b2b164f00343962d390ee6ec40 MOSCOW, Russia — Officials stated that a helicopter carrying tourists crashed into a deep volcanic crater lake on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia’s far east on Thursday, and that rescuers were scouring the lake for up to eight persons who were missing. At least eight others are said to have made it out alive.

The helicopter crashed in the Kronotsky nature reserve, and personnel were searching for survivors in Kurile Lake, which was formed in a volcano caldera and crater, according to the regional government.

According to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti, Russia’s Emergencies Ministry stated 13 tourists and three crew members were aboard the Mi-8 helicopter, and eight individuals survived. It was reported that two of them were seriously hurt.

Officials told the Interfax news agency that the chopper was carrying three crew members and 14 tourists when it went down in thick fog. Regional officials first told Interfax that nine passengers, including two pilots, survived the accident, but subsequently stated that just eight people were recovered alive, with the search for the others ongoing.

The disparate figures could not be reconciled right away. The visitors’ nationalities were not included in the papers, although the majority of them were from Moscow and St. Petersburg, according to the reports.

Prosecutors in the region were looking into a suspected breach of flight safety regulations.

According to reports, the helicopter is submerged at a depth of around 100 meters (328 feet) in Kurile Lake, which is up to 316 meters (1,037 feet) deep and covers an area of 77 square kilometers (30 square miles).

Vityaz-Aero, a local private carrier, flew the helicopter, which was built during the Soviet era 37 years ago. It had just undergone maintenance, according to its director, and was in fine working order.

The Mi-8 helicopter is a two-engine helicopter that was developed in the 1960s. It is extensively used in Russia, the former Soviet Union, and many other countries.

According to RIA Novosti, the location where the crash happened can only be accessed by helicopters, and the fog was hampering rescue operations. Rescue operations were being carried out by a number of local emergency personnel, including three divers, according to the report.

Kamchatka, a beautiful peninsula dotted with volcanoes, is renowned for its rough beauty and diverse species. On Kamchatka, the Kronotsky reserve, which contains Russia’s only geyser basin, is a popular tourist destination, with helicopters regularly transporting visitors there.

Flights are frequently jeopardized by rapidly changing weather. An An-26 passenger plane crashed on Kamchatka last month as it approached an airport during bad weather, killing all 28 people on board.

According to Russian press sources, Igor Redkin, a rich businessman and member of the Kamchatka provincial assembly, owns half of Vityaz-Aero. After shooting and killing a guy rummaging in a rubbish bin earlier this week, Redkin was placed under home arrest. The gunshot was unintentional, according to Redkin, who mistaken the victim for a bear.

On Kamchatka, there are an estimated 20,000 bears, and they occasionally wander into towns in search of food.