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MOSCOW, Aug 12 ― A Mi-8 helicopter with 16 people on board crashed in Russia’s Far East region of Kamchatka early today, the emergency service said, and news agencies reported nine had been found alive and seven were missing.

The helicopter operated by Vityaz-Aero company with 13 passengers and three crew hard-landed near a lake on the south of Kamchatka peninsula, the local emergency service said.

The helicopter was carrying tourists from Moscow and St Petersburg, state news agency RIA reported, citing a source at the emergency service. RIA said the helicopter fell into the lake.

Nine people were found alive at the scene, Interfax news agency reported, citing a source with Kamchatka’s health ministry. TASS news agency said seven passengers and two crew members survived the crash, citing an emergency service representative.

Kamchatka peninsula is popular among tourists for its nature. It is more than 6,000km (3,728 miles) east of Moscow and about 2,000km west of Alaska.

Russian aviation safety standards have improved in recent years but accidents, especially involving ageing planes and helicopters, are not uncommon.

In July, all 28 people on board of Antonov An-26 twin-engined turboprop died in a crash in Kamchatka. ― Reuters

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