VLADIVOSTOK, September 16 (Itar-Tass) —— A Mi-8 helicopter of the Far Eastern emergencies centre has taken off for Primorye territory’s Pozharsky district to evacuate a group of tourists spotted from an An-2 airplane near the River Bikin late on Thursday, the centre’s spokesman told Itar-Tass.
The helicopter will make a survey of the area. Presumably, the people seen from the flying plane are a group of tourists missing since September 9. Visually, the tourists are in satisfactory condition.
Onboard the Mi helicopter there is a team of rescuers. Another team has set off from the settlement of Vostok. They are equipped with a boat and a catamaran.
If the helicopter is unable to land because of the layout of the land, the tourists will be taken onboard with the help of a special lifting device.
A group of seven tourist group set out on a rafting trip along the River Bikin on August 19 and was to communicate their whereabouts on September 5 or 6. The seven tourists, residents of the city of Nakhodka, were to reach the settlement of Soboliny on September 9 or 10, at the latest. However, none of them returned up to now, and there was no word about their whereabouts.
Rescuers say the group, which included several old-aged people, set off for the trip unregistered and had no instructors.
Relatives of the missing tourists appealed for help to the local authorities. For three days, local police searched for them but to no avail. On September 13, professional rescuers joined in the search to comb the entire Bikin River basin.