At least nine people found alive while fate of seven others unknown after Mi-8 helicopter came down in Lake Kuril.
A helicopter with 16 people on board, most of them tourists, has crashed in the Kamchatka peninsula in Russia’s far east the local government said, with seven passengers unaccounted for.
The Mi-8 helicopter came down in Lake Kuril in the Kronotsky nature reserve, it said in a statement on Thursday.
According to preliminary information, “there were three crew members and 13 passengers on board”, all tourists, it added.
Forty rescuers and divers were dispatched to the scene. Kamchatka is more than 6,000km (3,728 miles) east of Moscow.
According to a local health ministry source, nine people were rescued.
“Nine people have been found, they are all alive,” the source told the Interfax news agency, adding that the search operation was continuing.
The fate of the remaining seven was not immediately known.
An investigation has been opened for violation of air safety rules, said the Russian Investigation Committee, which handles air accident probes.
The Vityaz-Aero helicopter was transporting the tourists to Khodutka, a volcano near the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.
Kamchatka is a large territory with few inhabitants but is visited by tourists for its volcanoes and scenery.
In July, all 28 people on board of Antonov An-26 twin-engined turboprop died in a crash in Kamchatka.
Russia historically had a poor air safety record but has significantly improved its aviation standards since the 2000s.
The country’s main airlines have shifted from ageing Soviet aircraft to more modern planes.
But maintenance issues and lax compliance with safety rules have remained a problem.