A Russian Mi-8 helicopter with eight people on board crashed into the sea off the coast of the island of Spitsbergen, a few kilometers from the Russian mining community of Barentsburg.
A message about the crash appeared on the Twitter account of the Norwegian Rescue Coordination Center.
The helicopter was flying from the closed settlement of Pyramid to Barentsburg. At 15:35 local time (16:35 Moscow time) the center received a message saying that the helicopter disappeared. The fact of the crash was confirmed ten minutes later.
Norway sent two rescue vessels and a helicopter to the site of the crash. However, bad weather conditions and poor visibility make the rescue operation extremely difficult.
In late March, Russia sent to Italy a group of epidemiologists and specialists from radiation, chemical and biological protection troops of the Defense Ministry to help disinfect medical facilities in Italy