Eight bodies have been recovered or found on board a helicopter that crashed into a lake on a sightseeing trip in Russia’s Far East, authorities said Monday.
The Mi-8 helicopter was carrying 16 tourists and crew when it crash-landed Thursday into the Kuril Lake in poor visibility in the Kamchatka peninsula 6,500 kilometers east of Moscow.
Eight people have been rescued, while eight others — including the only child on board — were missing and feared dead.
“Five victims' bodies have been raised and three bodies were found inside the helicopter,” Roman Vasilevsky, Kamchatka’s deputy governor, said in a statement.
Specialists will attempt to open the rear hatch and send a drone to recover the remaining three bodies, he added.
“The military is examining the bottom of the lake. A decision will be made in the near future on how to extract the helicopter to the surface,” Vasilevsky said.
Officials said the Vityaz-Aero helicopter, a firm co-owned by local lawmaker Igor Redkin — who made headlines last week for admitting to killing a man he mistook for a bear — had been in operation since 1984 but was in good condition.