Sat Apr 10, 2010
Ten people were killed when a helicopter carrying snowboarders was hit by an avalanche after landing on a ski slope in Russia's Far East, a spokeswoman for the Emergency Ministry said Saturday. World The helicopter, carrying 18 people including tourists from Germany and Belgium, had landed on a ski slope in Russia's Kamchatka region. "As of now we think 10 people died, but eight are alive," Irina Andrianova of the Emergency Ministry told Reuters, adding three Russians and one German citizen were found to be dead when they were dug out of the snow.
"Two Russians and four Germans are still under the snow. There is practically no chance they have survived as the temperature is minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus 4 F) and the thickness of the snow is 10-15 meters (30-45 ft)," she added. Two helicopter crew members also were among the dead. "It has been found out that the avalanche was started by tourists who were traveling down hill," Vesti 24 TV said on its web site, citing the Emergency Ministry. "The helicopter was destroyed completely, two crew members on board and eight tourists who were on the hillside were killed." (Reporting by Tanya Mosolova, writing by John Bowker and Dmitry Sergeyev, editing by Michael Roddy)
Recent updates rom the UK Independant:
Relatives of ten people, most of them German snowboarders, who were killed by an avalanche in Russia's remote Kamchatka region at the weekend are expected to arrive at the scene of the accident today.
The ten died when the helicopter carrying them was hit by an avalanche after landing on a ski slope on Saturday. The alarm was raised after their helicopter disappeared from radio contact and a search operation was launched. The Mi-8 helicopter had been carrying 18 people, including 12 tourists from Germany and Belgium, on an extreme heli-ski trip, and had landed at the top of a slope. When rescuers arrived they found that the helicopter had been completely crushed by the avalanche and carried more than 200 metres down the slope. Two of the three crew members died, while one miraculously survived and was cut from the wreckage.