Moscow: A helicopter carrying tourists on a sightseeing trip to the Russian Far East crashed into a lake on Thursday, killing eight people and two others in serious condition, rescuers and local officials said.
The Mi-8 helicopter carrying 16 people fell in a nature reserve on the mountainous Kamchatka Peninsula, the local government said in a statement.
“Eight people were rescued, two of them in serious condition,” senior Kamchatka regional government official Alexander Zabolichenko said in a statement.
The helicopter was carrying three crew members and 13 passengers, all tourists, the government added.
Forty rescuers and divers were dispatched to the scene.
Acting local health minister Marina Volkova previously said nine survived.
Anonymous medical sources told TASS the other eight feared death, but their fate was not immediately confirmed.
According to rescuers quoted by TASS, the helicopter sank after the crash and was at a depth of 100 meters (330 feet) in Lake Kurile.
The Russian Investigation Committee, which handles investigations into air accidents, said it was investigating a potential violation of aviation safety rules.
The Vityaz-Aero helicopter transported tourists to Khodutka, a volcano near the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.
Kamchatka is a vast territory with few inhabitants which is popular with tourists drawn by its spectacular landscapes.
In early July, a plane from a small local company crashed in the peninsula, killing 19 people.
Russia has historically had a bad reputation for aviation safety, but has significantly improved its record since the 2000s.
The country’s major airlines have shifted from aging Soviet airplanes to more modern airplanes.
But maintenance issues and lax compliance with safety regulations remained a problem.
In May 2019, an Aeroflot flight caught fire while making an emergency landing at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, killing 41 people.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)