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Russian helicopter carrying 8 crashes near Norway's Svalbard archipelago

A Russian helicopter with eight people on board went down Thursday in the sea off the coast of Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, according to officials. Norwegian search and rescue officials said the helicopter was flying from Pyramiden to Barentsburg when it was reported missing around 3:35 p.m. local time Thursday. It was confirmed down 10 minutes later.


  1. The helicopter went down about 2 to 3 kilometers (1.3 to 1.9 miles) from Barentsburg, rescuers said. The conditions of those on board was not immediately clear.
  2. “We have found oil on the water but no wreck,” Olav Bjoergaas, a spokesman for the Joint Rescue Coordination Centers for northern Norway, told The Associated Press. He added that there was poor visibility and heavy snowfall in the region.
  3. Pyramiden, a Russian settlement on Svalbard, is about 50 miles northeast of Barentsburg, the archipelago's second-largest settlement.
  4. Tore Hongset, spokesman for the rescue agency, told Norway's Aftenposten that several boats and a rescue helicopter were sent to the scene of the crash. He said that officials did not get a mayday signal from the helicopter.
  5. "As far as we've heard, it's talk of a crash," Hongset told Aftenposten.
  6. Rescue leader Olav Bjørgaas told Norwegian weekly paper Svalbardposten that officials were not immediately aware of "any traces of the helicopter."
  7. Russia's Sputnik news agency reported that the helicopter's passengers were all Russian citizens, citing the country's Emergency Ministry. Three of them are scientists from Russia's Arctic Research Institute.
  8. Svalbardposten reported that it was a Russian Mil Mi-8 helicopter that went down.
  9. Svalbard is more than 800 kilometers (500 miles) north of Norway’s mainland. It’s known for its stunning views of snow-covered mountains, fjords and glaciers.
  10. Three people died in 2008 when a Russian Mi-8 helicopter carrying nine people crashed about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from Barentsburg, according to Aftensposten.
  11. The Associated Press contributed to this report.