A helicopter carrying tourists crashed into a volcanic lake on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia’s far east, leaving up to eight people missing, according to news reports.
Russia’s emergencies ministry quoted the regional administration as saying workers in the Kronotsky nature reserve, where the helicopter went down on Thursday (local time), were searching the waters of Kuril Lake for survivors.
The ministry said 13 tourists and three crew members were aboard the Mi-8 helicopter when it plunged into the lake and eight people survived, according to the state RIA-Novosti news agency.
It said two of them were heavily injured.
The Interfax news agency, however, said the helicopter was carrying three crew members and 14 tourists when it went down in the deep fog.
It said nine people survived the crash, and the others were missing and feared dead.
The different numbers could not be immediately reconciled. The reports did not list the nationalities of the tourists.
The helicopter was operated by the Vityaz-Aero, a local private carrier. Its director said it had recently undergone maintenance and was in good shape.
The area can be reached only by helicopters and the fog was complicating rescue efforts, the RIA Novosti reported.