Crashed Russian helicopter raised from its Arctic seabed
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A Russian helicopter was raised Saturday from the seabed where it had crashed last month off Norway’s Arctic Svalbard archipelago with eight people on board.
Norway’s Accident Investigation Board says none of the missing people were inside the helicopter that went down Oct. 26 near the Svalbard settlement of Barentsburg. So far, only one body has been recovered from the Mi-8 helicopter’s wreckage, which was located at a depth of nearly 210 meters (685 feet).
The agency says the helicopter’s cockpit voice recorder was found when the aircraft was brought to the surface early Saturday by a ship equipped with a sturdy crane. It will be sent to Moscow together with the GPS units from the helicopter for analysis.
It said the search continued for the helicopter’s flight data recorder, which had not been found, and the missing crew and passengers.
The helicopter had been carrying five crew members and three members from Russia’s Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute.
The helicopter went down near Barentsburg, the archipelago’s second-largest settlement, which is a Russian coal-mining town of about 500 people. It came from the Russian hamlet of Pyramiden, a largely abandoned mine that attracts some tourists to see its empty Soviet-era buildings.
“We continue to comb the coast with people from the police and the Red Cross,” said Gunnar Johansen, a spokesman for the local governor.
Since the crash, more than 150 people have searched more than 200 kilometers (124 miles) of coastal areas — some places twice, according to the governor’s website.
Under an international 1920 treaty, Norway has sovereignty over Svalbard, which is 800 kilometers (500 miles) north of its mainland. Other signatory countries have rights to exploit the archipelago’s natural resources, including Russia.
Formerly known as Spitzbergen, the archipelago is known for stunning snow-covered mountains, fjords and glaciers.