The Mi-8 helicopter crashed in the Kronotsky Nature Reserve in Kamchatka, fell into the Kuril Lake. There were 16 people on board: 13 passengers, including a child, and three crew members. Six passengers and two crew members managed to get out from a helicopter under water and swim to the surface from a depth of 9 meters, where they were helped by the staff of the Kronotsky Reserve. Eight more people, including the crew commander, were allegedly killed.
The water temperature in the lake now is no higher than plus 5-6 degrees.
Four survivors delivered to the regional hospital of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, one of them is operated on, trying to save a leg after a fracture. Two more are in intensive care. The doctors assessed the condition of one of them as grave. “He has a severe concomitant injury and a fracture of the leg,” as well as a chest contusion and grade 2–3 shock, Kislyakov said. Now he is undergoing surgery to save his leg. “The second patient is also in the intensive care unit, he has a severe concomitant injury, chest contusion, open depressed fracture of the sternum, fracture of the ilium and the process of the lumbar vertebra. He is also being helped, ”the head physician said.
Another person will be treated on an outpatient basis, he received a bruise of the hand and other minor injuries. The fourth victim was suspected of having a closed craniocerebral injury; she is being examined.
The helicopter of the Vityaz-Aero airline from the village of Nikolaevka was heading across the lake to the Khodutka volcano. He fell presumably while landing.
“On Thursday at 09:25 local time (00:25 Moscow time) there was fog on the lake, the visibility did not exceed 100 meters. We heard the noise of the helicopter, but did not see it. Judging by the sound, he flew over the lake and began to turn towards the cordon. Then there was a loud bang – the helicopter hit the water. We immediately launched two boats and in 3-4 minutes reached the crash site, which was determined by the wave, “Interfax quotes the local state inspector of the reserve Yevgeny Denges.
According to him, the staff immediately rescued eight who were already on the surface of the water. They were taken to a cordon on the shore of the lake, they began to warm them up and provide first aid. Two survivors were seriously injured. “We drove around the lake several times in search of other people, but found no one,” Denges said.
A criminal case has been initiated into the crash. An Interfax source in the transport supervision services said that, according to preliminary data, a technical malfunction occurred during the Mi-8 flight, the pilots decided to land, but there was fog and almost zero visibility in the landing area, “in which the crew could make a mistake that led to disaster. “
Another source told the agency that the deceased helicopter was fired in 1984 for the 235th separate government squadron Aeroflot of the USSR. Then he was transferred to the Civil Aviation Administration of the central regions of the USSR. Later it belonged to Kamchatka Airlines and in 2013 was transferred to Vityaz-Aero.
The airline itself said that the helicopter underwent a major overhaul in 2020 and was inspected before each flight.