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KHABAROVSK, August 16. /TASS/. A Russian Emergencies Ministry’s helicopter carrying rescuers and investigators that has flown to the crash site of Mi-8 helicopter in the Shantar Islands in the Khabarovsk territory earlier today will wait through unfavorable weather conditions at the Khurba airport near Komsomolsk-on-Amur, the ministry’s press service said on Sunday.
"There are low clouds in the area of the crash. So, the helicopter that flew from Khabarovsk is waiting for permission to continue flight at the Khurba airdrome in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. It will fly to the Shantar Islands as soon as the weather improves," the press service said adding that the commander of the crashed helicopter did not contact any services yet.
At 6am local time on Sunday (11pm on Saturday Moscow time), a helicopter carrying rescuers, divers, Russian Emergencies Ministry’s doctors and Investigative Committee’s investigators has flown to the Shantar islands in the Khabarovsk territory where a Mi-8 helicopter crashed on Saturday.
The rescuer helicopter is planned to arrive at the scene at 4am Moscow time, the Russian Emergencies Ministry Far Eastern regional center’s press secretary Sergey Viktorov said. "Meteorological conditions are unfavorable near the Shantar Islands - low clouds, fog," Viktorov said.
An An-26 FGU plane has flown from Nikolaevsk-on-Amur to monitor the meteorological situation in the region. At around 9pm Moscow time on Saturday, a Rodonit ship set off from the Chumikan settlement for the sight of the crash. It will arrive to the Shantar Islands around 10am Moscow time.
Three more aircraft are ready to fly at any moment from Khabarovsk, Chumikan and Nikolaevsk-on-Amur.
A total of 126 people and 24 units of equipment are taking part in the search and rescue operation, including six aircraft and three ships. Operational headquarters are working in the Russian Emergencies Ministry’s Far Eastern regional center and main department.
Mi-8 helicopter crash in Far East
On Saturday, reports said a helicopter of the Vostok Aviation Company made a flight between two settlements in the Khabarovsk territory. On board were three members of the crew and 13 passengers.
The helicopter was due to arrive in the final destination by 10:20 Moscow time, but the crew did not communicate in due course. Later reports said the helicopter crashed in the Onchagan Bay in the Sea of Okhotsk near the Shantar Islands. "Later on, the captain managed to communicate with the company and reported the helicopter crashed three kilometers to the destination and sunk," Russia’s aviation agency Rosaviatsia said.
The latest reports say five people died in the helicopter crash. "The crew communicated the company once again, saying five people have died in the crash, and the rest have survived and do not require medical assistance," Rosaviatsia said.
Media reports said earlier in the day that top managers of the VTB Leasing, which is in the top-20 of leasing companies in Europe, were onboard the crashed helicopter. The VTB press service said that Andrei Konoplev, the director general of VTB Leasing, and his deputies have survived the crash of Mi-8 helicopter in the Khabarovsk Territory in Russia’s Far East.