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Daily Archives: 27. October 2017 − News & Stories


Heli­co­p­ter­crash: litt­le hope to find sur­vi­vors

The­re is no cer­tain­ty yet if the object that was loca­ted by echo­lot in a depth of 200-250 metres on the sea floor in Isfjord, not far from the Rus­si­an heli­co­p­ter base at Hee­rod­den clo­se to Bar­ents­burg, actual­ly is the wreck of the heli­co­p­ter. But the­re is no doubt that the MI-8 heli­co­p­ter did crash into Isfjord yes­ter­day. As more than 20 hours have gone by sin­ce the crash and the­re is no trace yet of any sur­vi­vors, hopes to find any of the 8 peop­le on board are get­ting smal­ler and smal­ler and the worst has to be fea­red.

Names of the 8 per­sons on board were alrea­dy yes­ter­day released by Rus­si­an media. Now, also the respon­si­ble Nor­we­gi­an aut­ho­ri­ty, the Res­cue Cent­re North Nor­way, has released the names offi­cial­ly.

The per­sons on board the heli­co­p­ter were

Pas­sen­gers (Sci­en­tists of the Insti­tuts for Arc­tic and Ant­arc­tic Rese­arch in St. Peters­burg):
Oleg Golo­va­nov
Niko­laj Fade­jev
Mak­sim Kau­lio

Crew:

Jev­ge­nij Bara­nov – Chief pilot
Vla­di­mir Frolov – Second pilot
Alek­sej Poul­jaus­kas – Mecha­nic
Marat Mikht­arov – Tech­ni­ci­an
Alek­sej Korol­jov – Engi­neer

The­re is hope until the oppo­si­te is pro­ven, and every effort is taken to con­ti­nue the search and find sur­vi­vors. Nor­we­gi­an SAR for­ces are on loca­ti­on with heli­co­p­ters, a spe­cial aero­pla­ne from the Nor­we­gi­an air­for­ce, ships and boats. But the more time is going by, the more likely it seems that it is a tra­ge­dy without sur­vi­vors.

The Sys­sel­man­nen has estab­lis­hed a con­ta­ct pho­ne num­ber for rela­ti­ves and expres­ses deep sym­pa­thy with tho­se who are affec­ted. This is shared by the aut­hor of the­se lines, who­se thoughts and sym­pa­thy are also with tho­se who were in the heli­co­p­ter and their fami­ly, friends and col­leagues and all others who are invol­ved.

Accord­ing to inter­na­tio­nal law, Nor­we­gi­an aut­ho­ri­ties are respon­si­ble for the inves­ti­ga­ti­on of the acci­dent. A hava­ry com­mis­si­on is alrea­dy in Lon­gye­ar­by­en and will soon start to gather all infor­ma­ti­on that is avail­ab­le. But cur­r­ent­ly, the effort to find sur­vi­vors and the heli­co­p­ter are still the focus of all efforts.

Rus­si­an MI-8 heli­co­p­ter at the air­port Lon­gye­ar­by­en (archi­ve image).

Russian airport Spitsbergen.

Source: Sys­sel­man­nen, Sval­bard­pos­ten

Cras­hed heli­co­p­ter pro­bab­ly found

The Rus­si­an heli­co­p­ter that cras­hed on Thurs­day after­noon is pro­bab­ly found. Search-and-res­cue for­ces sen­sed a strong smell of fuel and saw air bub­bles com­ing to the water sur­face at a cer­tain posi­ti­on in the area in ques­ti­on, in Isfjord, about 2-3 km from the heli­co­p­ter base at Hee­rod­den. A ship has found an object on the sea floor with the echo­lot that could be the wreck of the heli­co­p­ter or a part of it. This needs to be con­fir­med, though. The depth is bet­ween 200 and 250 metres, far bey­ond the reach of divers.

Alrea­dy during the night, a diving robot (ROV = Remo­te­ly Ope­ra­ted Vehi­cle) was brought from main­land Nor­way to Lon­gye­ar­by­en with a SAS pla­ne. The ROV will be ope­ra­ted at the alle­ged acci­dent site as soon as pos­si­ble. This has pro­bab­ly alrea­dy hap­pen­ed at the time of wri­ting (08.30 local time on Fri­day morning) or it may be going on right now.

The­re were 8 per­sons on board the heli­co­p­ter, and the search after sur­vi­vors is going on. SAR for­ces are sear­ching the near­by coast, east of Hee­rod­den. Heli­co­p­ters and ships are scan­ning the water. Accord­ing to all that is known, the worst has to be fea­red, but all efforts are taken to find sur­vi­vors. The Rus­si­an heli­co­p­ter was of the type MI-8, which is equip­ped with a life raft and with lif­ting bodies that keep the heli­co­p­ter afloat at least for a while in case of a con­trol­led emer­gen­cy lan­ding on the water sur­face. The fact that no emer­gen­cy signal was released by the crew makes it howe­ver doubt­ful that it was a con­trol­led emer­gen­cy lan­ding. A sud­den, uncon­trol­led crash seems likely. Wit­nes­ses say they have heard a loud noi­se like a bang at the time in ques­ti­on.

Next to the 2 Nor­we­gi­an SAR heli­co­p­ters, the­re is a num­ber of ships and boats in the area: Polar­sys­sel (Sys­sel­man­nen), coast guard and boats from the tou­rism indus­try in Lon­gye­ar­by­en. Initi­al­ly, the visi­bi­li­ty was redu­ced by snow fall, but the wea­ther is by now qui­te good, with litt­le wind and clear visi­bi­li­ty. The polar night has begun a cou­p­le of days ago, so even around noon, the sun remains below the hori­zon, making light very scar­ce.

Light con­di­ti­ons in Isfjord during the polar night around noon. The bright light is the moon. (Archi­ve image.)

Polar night, Isfjord.

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten

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