The Mi-6 helicopter, which rescue teams from the Russian emergencies ministry found yesterday after an eight-day search, had crashed amidst an uninhabited tundra on Siberia's northernmost peninsula of Taimyr, near the river Gusinaya and Primetnaya Mount, about 120 kilometres away from its destination in Eclipse Bay, reported the head of the Dickson district administration Vladimir Latyshev, who had visited the site of the crash.
According to Latyshev, the search was a difficult one because scorched and blackened debris of the aircraft were resting on rocks of the same colour.
The helicopter had crashed to the ground propeller down, catching fire in the process and killing all 9 crew and 12 geologists on board.
The helicopter's "black box," or the in-flight recorder that stores information about the flight, was found unharmed and may help clarify the circumstances of the crash.
Latyshev's own version of the events is that the crew discovered some fault on board after the last radio session with an air traffic controller and turned the helicopter to go back to Dickson but could not make it.
On the evening of July 10th, the Mi-6 took off from Valek air field in Norilsk with 12 geologists and 3 tons of load on board and stopped over at Dickson before heading on towards Eclipse Bay. It was the fourth geological party to have left Norilsk this summer with the purpose of mining gold on the island of Bolshevik, near Solnechnaya Bay.
According to Latyshev, Taimyr has declared Friday a day of mourning for victims of the helicopter crash. On this day, the bodies will be taken away from the crash site.