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Russian chopper crashes into lake, at least 16 missing

Moscow, June 3 (): A helicopter crashed into a lake in the north-western part of Russia on Saturday night, officials said on Sunday. Sixteen passengers out of 19 passengers on board were found missing, Rossiya state television reported.

The first information from the Emergencies Ministry said, on Sunday, the crashed Mi-8 helicopter was carrying 19 people – 14 passengers and the remaining five were the crew members. The chopper had crashed in an isolated region in Murmansk province in north western Russia on Saturday night.

The Mi-8 chopper had left Apatity town at 7:54 pm local time on Saturday. It had made a stop near Pyatka camp in the region of Murmansk where it picked up some more people. The crew did not make radio communication with flight controller at 8:40 pm local time before it was found that the chopper had crashed in Tersky district into Lake Vostochnoye Munozero.

When sixteen people were missing, two passengers survived with injuries. They were found floating on the surface of the lake strapped to their seats. Fishermen rescued and hospitalized them for treatment of injuries and broken legs.

Officials said they could not start rescue procedures as soon as they received the early reports of the crash on Saturday as the weather conditions were very poor. The rescue operations started on the site of crash on Sunday. Some 100 people took part in the rescue operation, the ministry of emergency said.

The helicopter belonged to fertilizer company Apatit, said the website of the regional administration. Among the sixteen people were the head of Apatit and few top regional government officials. Reports say they were supposed to have been on a fishing trip.

In a statement, the federal Investigative Committee spokesman, Vladimir Markin, said the reason for the crash was under investigation still, but it was believed the crash happened most likely due to technical failure of the aircraft caused by poor weather.