A Russian helicopter with eight people on board crashed at sea in Norway s Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic on Thursday, Norwegian rescue services said, with fears growing over the fate of those on board.
None of the eight had been found three hours after the accident was reported. According to Russian media, they are all Russian nationals.
Chances of survival were fading rapidly, with air and water temperatures in the region currently around zero degrees Celsius (32 Fahrenheit).
Rescuers were in a “race against the clock,” rescue chief Tore Hongset told Norwegian television TV2.
“Time is passing and the risk of hypothermia and death is increasing,” he said.
The aircraft went down in the afternoon two or three kilometers from Barentsburg, a Russian mining community in the archipelago, the rescue services said.
No contact had been made with the chopper before it went down or immediately after it was reported down.
Two Norwegian helicopters and several rescue vessels were dispatched to the scene.