The Russian helicopter was carrying 13 tourists and three crew members. At least nine people survived, according to the local Ministry of Health. Maintenance problems and poor compliance with safety standards continue to be a problem
Russian helicopter crashes with 16 people on board
A helicopter crashed Thursday, August 12, in Kamchatka, in the Russian Far East. The aircraft, which was carrying 16 people on board, crashed into Kuril Lake in the Kronotski nature reserve.
The Mi-8 helicopter “had on board 3 crew members and 13 passengers”, all “tourists”, it is specified. About forty rescuers from the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations and divers were sent to the crash site.
“According to our information, nine people survived,” acting local health minister Marina Volkova told the official TASS news agency. For now, the fate of the other seven people is unknown, she added.
An investigation has been opened for violation of air operation and safety regulations, Russia’s Investigative Committee, which is responsible for major investigations in the country, announced in a statement.
Maintenance problems that are always a problem
The helicopter, from the Vitiaz-Aero company, was supposed to transport its passengers to Khodutka, one of the volcanoes surrounding the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamtchatsky.
Kamchatka, a vast and sparsely populated territory, is popular with tourists for its volcanoes and wilderness.
Last month, a plane belonging to a small local company crashed in Kamchatka, killing 19 people. Russia, long known for plane crashes, has significantly improved its aviation safety since the 2000s. However, maintenance problems and sometimes lax compliance with safety regulations remain an issue.