16 missing as helicopter crashes into lake in Russia

16 missing as helicopter crashes into lake in Russia

PanARMENIAN.Net - Sixteen people were missing and two survived with injuries after a Mi-8 helicopter crashed into a lake in Russia's northwest Murmansk region, the Emergencies Ministry said on Sunday, according to Reuters.

The state-owned news agency RIA Novosti cited an unnamed source as saying that regional government officials and businessmen were aboard the helicopter and that they were on a fishing trip.

The Emergencies Ministry said on its website that the helicopter, which included five crew members, crashed on Saturday night near the village of Vostochnoye Munozero. Sixteen of the occupants were unaccounted for, while two were rescued.

Russia's federal Investigative Committee said it began a criminal inquiry into the crash on the basis of suspected breaches of air safety rules. Mechanical failure as well as poor weather conditions were possible factors in the crash, it said.

Accidents involving Mi-8 aircraft are frequent in Russia, which has been criticised for its poor air safety record. The Soviet-designed helicopter is widely used for ferrying people and cargo to remote areas of the world's largest country.

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