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Wreckage Of Russian Copter Raised From Sea In Svalbard

A search-and-rescue crew looks for the wreckage of a Russian helicopter off the Arctic Svalbard archipelago on October 26.
A search-and-rescue crew looks for the wreckage of a Russian helicopter off the Arctic Svalbard archipelago on October 26.

The Russian helicopter that crashed on October 26 with eight people aboard off the Arctic Svalbard archipelago has been raised from the seabed, Norwegian officials say.

None of the bodies of the presumed fatalities was found within the wreckage, Norway's Accident Investigation Board (AIB) said on November 4.

So far, only one body has been found, recovered on October 31 about 130 meters from the scene of the wreckage.

The local governor’s website said more than 150 personnel -- Norwegian police, Red Cross volunteers, and Russian divers -- are searching some 200 kilometers of coastal areas since the crash.

"We continue to comb the coast with people from the police and the Red Cross," spokesman Gunnar Johansen said.

The Mi-8 helicopter carrying five crew members and three polar scientists crashed at sea about 3 kilometers from Barentsburg, a Russian mining community in the archipelago.

The AIB said the helicopter's cockpit voice recorder and GPS were found intact with the aircraft, which was raised from a depth of 209 meters.

The voice recorder has been sent to Moscow for analysis, said officials, who added that the flight data recorder has not yet been found.

Svalbard exists under a unique geopolitical arrangement.

Norway was awarded sovereignty over the archipelago, located around 1,000 kilometers from the North Pole, under the 1920 Treaty of Paris.

But nationals of all signatory states enjoy "equal liberty of access and entry" to Svalbard and its waters.

Under the provisions of the treaty, Russia operates a coal mine in Barentsburg, which is home to several hundred Russian and Ukrainian miners.

In 2008, another Mi-8 crashed near Barentsburg, killing three of its nine occupants.

With reporting by AP, dpa, TASS, Reuters, AFP, and Interfax
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