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KHABAROVSK, August 16. /TASS/. Seven survivors in the Mi-8 helicopter crash in the Far Eastern Sea of Okhotsk have been evacuated to Khabarovsk. Two of them have been hospitalized, a TASS correspondent reported from the Khabarovsk airport on Sunday.
"Seven out of the eleven survivors have been taken to Khabarovsk. Three crew members and the trip organizer are staying at the crash site to be interrogated," a spokesman for the Khabarovsk territory department of the Russian emergencies ministry said.
On Saturday, reports said a Mil Mi-8 helicopter of the Vostok Aviation Company was making a flight between two settlements in the Far East’s Khabarovsk territory. It had on board three members of the crew and 13 passengers.
The helicopter was due to arrive at 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 get in contact with the company and reported the helicopter crashed three kilometers off its destination and sank," Russia’s aviation agency Rosaviatsia said.
Media reports said earlier in the day that top managers of the VTB Leasing, a top-20 leasing company in Europe, were on board the crashed helicopter. VTB’s press service said that Andrei Konoplev, the company’s director general, and his deputies had survived the crash.
The Shantar Islands are a group of fifteen islands located off the western shore of the Sea of Okhotsk. The archipelago amazes travellers by its unique wild nature. A tour to the islands in a group of ten people for 12 days costs about $9,000 per person.
An investigation is underway. Specialists have taken samples of fuel which the crashed helicopter used and documents related to the flight. Divers are searching the crash area.