helicopter with 16 people on board crashes in Kamchatka, Russia | Aviation News

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At least nine people have been found alive while the fate of seven others is unknown after a Mi-8 helicopter fell in Lake Kuril.

A helicopter with 16 people on board, mostly tourists, crashed in the Kamchatka Peninsula in far eastern Russia, the local government said, with seven passengers missing.

The Mi-8 helicopter fell in Kuril Lake in the Kronotsky Nature Reserve, he said in a statement on Thursday.

According to preliminary information, “there were three crew members and 13 passengers on board”, all tourists, he added.

Forty rescuers and divers were dispatched to the scene. Kamchatka is more than 6,000 km (3,728 miles) east of Moscow.

According to a local source from the Ministry of Health, nine people were rescued.

“Nine people have been found, they are all alive,” the source told Interfax news agency, adding that the search operation was continuing.

The fate of the other seven was not immediately known.

An investigation has been opened for violation of aviation safety rules, said the Russian Investigation Committee, which manages investigations into air accidents.

The Vityaz-Aero helicopter transported tourists to Khodutka, a volcano near the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.

Kamchatka is a vast territory with few inhabitants but is visited by tourists for its volcanoes and landscapes.

In July, all 28 people aboard the twin-engine turboprop Antonov An-26 died in an accident in Kamchatka.

Russia historically had a poor aviation safety record, but has significantly improved its aviation standards since the 2000s.

The country’s major airlines have shifted from aging Soviet airplanes to more modern airplanes.

But maintenance issues and lax compliance with safety regulations remained a problem.

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