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Tourist helicopter crashes into Russian lake

image sourceRussian emergencies ministry

image captionEmergencies ministry rescuers and divers have been sent to the area

A tourist helicopter with 16 people on board has crashed into a lake in Russia’s Far East, officials say.

There were eight known survivors, Russian media quoted emergencies ministry officials as saying.

Thirteen tourists, including a child, and three crew were on board when the Mi-8 crashed and sank in the Kuril Lake on the Kamchatka Peninsula.

Emergencies ministry rescuers and divers have been sent to the area to search for those still unaccounted for.

The helicopter belonging to the Vityaz-Aero company is reportedly lying at a depth of 100 metres (330 feet) in the lake.

According to preliminary information, the aircraft was on route from the village of Nikolayevka to the Kuril Lake and the Khodutka volcano when it crashed, the emergencies ministry said.

The Mi-8 – a medium twin-turbine helicopter – was carrying tourists from Moscow and St Petersburg, Russia’s news agency RIA reported.

The mountainous Kamchatka peninsula – more than 6,000 km (3,730 miles) east of Moscow – is popular among tourists.

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