Five die in Tajik mountains helicopter crash but 13 survive

Image caption,
The Pamir mountains are a major tourist draw

Twelve mainly Russian climbers and a crew member have survived a helicopter crash in the mountains of Tajikistan.

But three Russian climbers and two Tajik pilots died in the accident in the Pamir Mountains in east Tajikistan.

The "hard landing" of the helicopter happened at 17:30 (11:30 GMT) on Sunday, Tajik officials said.

Russian news agencies said the helicopter had taken the climbers from a nearby base camp on the Fortambek glacier on the Ismoili Somoni peak.

Of the 12 climbers to survive, two are Belarusian and Spanish and the remainder Russian. The surviving crew member was from Tajikistan.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
A Russian Mi-8 helicopter similar to that which crash landed in Tajikistan

The helicopter, a Russian-built Mi-8, crash-landed on the edge of the Fortambek glacier, approximately 300 km (186 miles) east of the Tajik capital, Dushanbe.

At 7,495m (24,590ft), the Ismoili Somoni mountain is Tajikistan's highest and a major tourist attraction.

It was known as Communism Peak when Tajikistan was part of the Soviet Union and renamed after a 10th-Century Tajik national hero in 1998.

The Pamir mountain range is often described as the "roof of the world".