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Missing Russian Helicopter Found In Arctic Seabed, Eight Presumed Dead


The Russian-made Mil Mi-8 helicopter that crashed on October 26 with eight people aboard off the coast of the Arctic Svalbard archipelago is shown in the settlement of Barentsburg in April 2015.

Norwegian rescue services say a Russian helicopter that disappeared off the Arctic Svalbard archipelago has been found on the seabed and the eight Russians on board are presumed dead.

The Mi-8 helicopter was carrying five crewmembers and three scientists when it crashed at sea on October 26.

The helicopter went down about 3 kilometers from Barentsburg, a Russian mining community in the archipelago.

"The wreck of the Russian helicopter has been located...northeast of Heerodden, at a depth of 209 meters," the Norwegian rescue services said in a statement on October 29. "The search has now concluded, and has moved into a search phase for the presumed dead."

None of the eight Russians on board the helicopter has been recovered

Earlier on October 29, a Russian plane arrived in the archipelago with a 40-member rescue team to conduct deep-sea search-and-rescue operations.

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

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.

The helicopter went down about 3 kilometers from Barentsburg and was returning from the closed-down Russian mining settlement of Pyramiden on Spitsbergen Island.

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

With reporting by TASS, Reuters, AFP, and Interfax
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