Body found after Russian helicopter crash in Arctic, Norway says

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 31.10.2017 17:18
Updated 31.10.2017 17:21
A view shows the Russian-made Mil Mi-8 helicopter, that went missing October 26, 2017 with eight people aboard off the coast of the Arctic Svalbard archipelago, in the settlement of Barentsburg on Svalbard, Norway April 28, 2015. (Reuters Photo)
A view shows the Russian-made Mil Mi-8 helicopter, that went missing October 26, 2017 with eight people aboard off the coast of the Arctic Svalbard archipelago, in the settlement of Barentsburg on Svalbard, Norway April 28, 2015. (Reuters Photo)

Norwegian authorities said Tuesday that recovery workers have found one of eight bodies in the crash of a Russian helicopter last week off the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard.

The eight Russians, five crew members and three scientists, are all presumed dead.

"One person was brought to the surface this morning. The body was lying on the ocean floor around 130 meters (430 feet) from the helicopter wreck," Terje Carlsen, a spokesman for the Svalbard authorities, told AFP.

Carlsen said the search for the other bodies would continue but was hampered by the fact that it was dark for nearly 20 hours on Svalbard at this time of year. He said the bodies could have floated away from the wreck.

The Mi-8 helicopter with five crew members and three members from Russia's Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, went down Thursday near the Svalbard settlement of Barentsburg.

Norwegian authorities, who dispatched a large search and rescue mission to the scene, announced Sunday that they had found the helicopter on the ocean floor.

Norway, a NATO member, was afforded sovereignty of Svalbard, located around 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) from the North Pole, under a treaty signed in Paris in 1920.

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

As a result Russia operates a coal mine in Barentsburg, home to several hundred Russian and Ukrainian miners, giving Moscow a presence in the geopolitically strategic region.

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