Russian Foreign Ministry thanks Norway for aiding search for Russian helicopter on Spitsbergen
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Russian Foreign Ministry thanks Norway for aiding search for Russian helicopter on Spitsbergen

Moscow expressed gratitude to the Foreign Ministry of Norway and other Norwegian agencies for aiding the search operation for the Russian Mi-8 helicopter that crashed off Spitsbergen (Svalbard), according to a statement released by Maria Zakharova, spokesperson of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

"The Foreign Ministry is deeply grateful to our colleagues in the Norwegian Foreign Ministry and other agencies for their close cooperation in this difficult situation," the diplomat noted. According to Zakharova, during the joint search-and-rescue operation, everything possible was done to find the crew and passengers of the helicopter.

"The large search-and-rescue operation launched to locate the Mi-8AMT Russian helicopter that crashed off Spitsbergen on October 26 has been completed. It involved considerable numbers of Russian and Norwegian rescue forces. Now the crash area will be monitored by the resources of the archipelago's governor," Zakharova noted, adding that all Russian rescue workers returned to Moscow on Friday.

"The Norwegian authorities, the Interstate Aviation Committee and the Russian Investigative Committee continue to investigate the accident. The voice recorder found on board the lifted helicopter has been delivered to Moscow. Its tapes are now being decoded," the Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.

The Convers Avia Mi-8 helicopter with five crew members and three employees of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute on board, was lost on October 26 during a flight from an abandoned Russian settlement known as Pyramiden to Barentsburg. Over 40 rescue workers from the Russian Emergencies Ministry joined the search during the early hours of October 29. A Norwegian vessel located the helicopter two kilometers northeast of Cape Heer. On October 30, one body was found 130 meters from the crash site.