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Rescuers get to copter crash site in northern Russia, searching for people

June 01, 2014, 11:57 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Criminal case opened for flight safety violation over copter crash
1 pages in this article
© ITAR-TASS

MOSCOW, June 01, /ITAR-TASS/. The crash site of a helicopter Mil Mi-8 in northern Russia’s Murmansk Region is found, a source in regional law enforcement agencies told Itar-Tass.

“Rescuers have reached the crash site. The debris of the helicopter is found, a small part of them is on Munozero Lake, other pieces had obviously sunken. No people aboard the helicopter were found yet,” chief of the North-Western regional emergency situation centre Igor Panin said at a telecom conference at the national emergency response centre of the Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM).

Criminal case opened

The Investigative Committee instituted criminal proceedings over the crash of a helicopter under Article 263 Part 3 of Russia’s Criminal Code for violation of flight safety rules that entailed the death of two and more people through negligence, Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told Itar-Tass on Sunday.

“The malfunction of an aircraft and the fact that a pilot happened to be in hard weather conditions, suffered spatial disorientation and crashed into the lake are among main theories behind the air incident,” Markin noted.

Ambulances are delivering two passengers who survived in the crash of a helicopter Mil Mi-8 on a lake in northern Russia’s Murmansk Region on Sunday. Their treatment will be continued at the largest regional hospital, acting regional health chief Roman Moskvin told Itar-Tass.

“Injured people are in heavily satisfactory condition, all medical aid is being given to them,” Moskvin said.

Fishermen have found and saved two survivors after the helicopter crash. They were taken to intensive care of the Kandalaksha central district hospital.

What happened to the helicopter

According to latest reports of the Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM) and regional government, the helicopter that crashed in Murmansk Region  was carrying 18 people, including five crewmembers. According to preliminary reports, the helicopter was delivering Deputy Governor of Murmansk Region Sergey Skomorokhov, Regional Minister of Natural Resources Aleksey Smirnov, Director-General of Apatit world’s largest high-graded phosphate ore producer Apatit Aleksey Grigoryev. The helicopter was owned by company Apatit, the press service of the regional government told Itar-Tass.

The helicopter Mil Mi-8 that crashed in northern Russia’s Murmansk Region has sunken in Munozero Lake, a source in regional law enforcement agencies told Itar-Tass on Sunday.

“The helicopter is lying at the depth of two metres with landing gear upwards,” he said.

Yet, rescuers have not found any passengers and crewmembers who were staying aboard a helicopter Mil Mi-8 that crashed in northern Russia’s Murmansk Region, chief of the North-Western regional emergency situation centre Igor Panin said at a telecom conference at the EMERCOM national emergency response centre.

“The helicopter body has presumably cracked in three parts,” Panin said, noting that “No bodies were found on the lake. Two people were rescued and were taken to hospitals with leg fractures.”

More than 100 people are involved in the search-and-rescue operation.

“Use of aviation [in the search-and-rescue operation] is impossible over low clouds,” the head of the North-Western regional emergency situation centre said.

For his part, Minister of Emergency Situations Vladimir Puchkov tasked divers and other specialists to continue the rescue operation, “help and support all emergency services that will arrive for a fact-finding mission.”

As main theories of the helicopter crash detectives are probing “a malfunction of helicopter avionics and the fact that the pilot happened to be in hard weather conditions, suffered spatial disorientation and crashed onto the lake.”

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