Thirteen tourists, including a child, and three crew, were on board when a Mi-8 helicopter which was traveling on Thursday from the village of Nikolayevka to the Kuril Lake and the Khodutka volcano crashed and sank in the deep volcanic crater Kuril Lake on the Kamchatka Peninsula. It was flying in poor visibility. There were eight known survivors, including two pilots. Some are in intensive care with various injuries. The helicopter is lying at a depth of 137 metres (450ft). It’s too deep for divers to operate and special equipment is needed. The area where the crash occurred can only be reached by helicopters and the fog was complicating rescue efforts.
The aircraft, a medium twin-turbine manufactured during the Soviet era 37 years ago , belonged to the Vityaz-Aero company and was carrying tourists from Moscow and St Petersburg. It had recently undergone maintenance and was in good shape. An investigation has been opened for violation of air safety rules, said the Russian Investigation Committee. Vityaz-Aero is half-owned by Igor Redkin, a millionaire businessman who is a member of the Kamchatka regional legislature. Redkin was placed under house arrest earlier this week after he shot and killed a man who was rummaging in a garbage bin. Similar accidents involving tourists previously occurred in the Kamchatka Peninsula. In July, all 28 people on board of Antonov An-26 twin-engined turboprop died in a crash.