State officials of the Sakhalin region died as a result of the crash of a MI-8 helicopter in Kamchatka. 20 bodies were discovered at the site of the accident. The bodies of Igor Farhutdinov, governor of the Sakhalin region, his aide Yuri Shuvalov and Dmitry Donskoi, head of the press centre of the Sakhalin administration have been already identified.
It was difficult to identify many bodies on board the helicopter as they were maimed badly.
Causes of the air crash are still unknown. There were no traces of an explosion or fire at the site of the crash. The operative search headquarters reported to RIA Novosti that the rescuers retrieved the "black box", the helicopter's onboard recorder.
On 20 August management of the Sakhalin regional administration flew to the city of Severo-Kurilsk at the Paramuchir island, one of the Kuril range islands. They intended to examine the state of preparation of this remote Russian region for the coming winter. After one hour of the flight the flight control centre lost radio contact with the helicopter and the search for it was immediately initiated.
Today at the distance of 150 km to the south of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, the administrative centre of the Kamchatka peninsula, the search party discovered helicopter's debris from the air. Evacuation of dead bodies is scheduled for Sunday.
A state commission headed by Sergei Shoigu, the minister of Emergencies, was organised to investigate causes of the catastrophe and to provide assistance to families of the victims.
The helicopter's pilot-in-command had 20 years of flight experience.
Igor Farhutdinov, the governor of the Sakhalin region was the second Russian governor to have died in an air crash. On 28 April last year Aleksander Lebed, governor of the Krasnoyarsk territory perished in Siberia in another MI-8 crash.