Russian helicopter with eight people on board crashes into sea

Russian helicopter with eight on board crashes near Norway’s Svalbard archipelago

"We have received information that communication with the Russian Mi-8 helicopter was lost in the area of Barentsburg", a rescuer said, adding that Norwegian rescuer helicopters and ships will be involved in the search effort.

Russian helicopter with eight people on board has smashed into the sea near the Norwegian Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. "We don't know if it was a controlled landing", an emergency services spokesman told AFP.

Norway sent two rescue vessels and a helicopter to the site of the crash.

Snow conditions were reported in the region at the time of the crash.

It said the eight people aboard were five crew members and three staff members from Russia's national Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute.

Norway has sovereignty over Svalbard but Russian Federation has a small coal-mining community in Barentsburg. "But whether it crashed or not, I can't say", he said.

The Norway Rescue Service then confirmed it "came down" just 2km off the coast of Barentsburg.

In March 2008, three people were killed after a Russian Mi-8 helicopter with nine people on board crashed about two miles from Barentsburg.

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

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