Five people aboard a Russian helicopter that crashed into the Sea of Okhotsk are missing and presumed dead, Russian officials said Sunday, the Moscow Times reported. There were 16 people on the helicopter and 11 of them survived.
Following the crash, the pilot reported by satellite phone he and 10 others made it to a tourist base on the Tugur Peninsula, the Interfax news agency said, citing emergency services. The helicopter crew did not communicate with an air traffic control tower at the time of the crash.
The Mi-8 helicopter, which is widely used to carry people and cargo to far-flung areas of Russia, took off Saturday, the from the village of Polina Osipenko in the Khabarovsk region and was scheduled to land near a lake on the Tugur Peninsula, but crashed into the sea about 30 meters from shore, Radio Free Liberty reported. The cause of the crash has yet to be determined but investigators say the helicopter's engine may have failed.
Russia's state-run Tass news agency reported a group of top managers from a Russian company were on the flight, headed to the Shantar Islands.
A number of aviation accidents have occurred in Russia in recent weeks. A midair collision last Sunday between a helicopter and a seaplane over the Istrinskoye Reservoir near Moscow killed nine people.
Another helicopter crash earlier this month grounded all Russian military helicopters after one of them crashed during an airshow, killing one of the pilots. The Mi-28 gunship was performing alongside other helicopters at the International Army Games show at the Dubrovichi firing range in Ryazan, about 105 miles southeast of Moscow, the Russia Defense Ministry said. The pilot who survived told officials he thought the crash was caused by the failure of the aircraft’s hydraulic system.