A helicopter with 16 people on board, most of them tourists, on a volcano sightseeing trip crashed within the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia's Far East on Thursday. The emergency service said nine had been found alive and seven were missing. However, eight people are feared dead and two others in serious condition, rescuers and native officials said. The Mi-8 helicopter came down in Lake Kuril within the Kronotsky nature reserve, the government said during a statement. "Eight people were rescued, two of them are in serious condition," senior Kamchatka regional government official Alexander Zabolichenko said during a statement as reported by press agency AFP. An investigation has been launched for violation of air safety rules, the Russian Investigation Committee, which handles air accident probes said. According to reports, forty rescuers and divers were dispatched to the spot. According to AP news agency, the helicopter is reportedly lying at a depth of about 100 meters (328 feet) in Lake Kuril, which is up to 316 meters (1,037-feet) deep with an area of 77 square kilometres (30 square miles). The Vityaz-Aero helicopter was carrying the tourists to Khodutka, a volcano near the town of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Kamchatka, a large territory has few inhabitants but is visited by tourists for its volcanoes and scenery. Meanwhile, the Interfax press agency cited officials as saying the helicopter was carrying three crew members and 14 tourists when it went down in deep fog. The varying numbers could not be immediately reconciled. Though the reports did not list the tourists’ nationalities, the officials said that most of them were from Moscow and St Petersburg. Russia has historically had a poor air safety record but has significantly improved its aviation standards since the 2000s. (With inputs from agency)   NOTE: Asianet News humbly requests everyone to wear masks, sanitize, maintain social distancing and get vaccinated as soon as eligible. Together we can and will break the chain #ANCares #IndiaFightsCorona

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