Russian helicopter lost off Svalbard in Arctic Norway

image copyrightAFP
image captionA 2011 photo of the Russian Mi-8 helicopter at Barentsburg

Rescuers are trying to find a Russian Mi-8 civilian helicopter that crashed into the sea with eight people on board in the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard.

Norway has sovereignty over Svalbard but Russia has a small coal-mining community in Barentsburg. The crash happened a few kilometres from there.

Russia's consul there said five crew and three scientists were on board, all Russians. They are feared dead.

The helicopter went missing at 15:35 local time (13:35 GMT).

It was on a short flight to Barentsburg from Pyramiden, a disused Russian mining settlement. The helicopter is operated by a Russian coal-mining enterprise, Arktikugol.

image copyrightAFP
image captionThe disused Russian mining settlement of Pyramiden on Svalbard

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