On Saturday, recovery vessel Maersk Forza and its remotely operated vehicles recovered the wreckage of a Russian-registered Mil Mi-8AMT that crashed offshore near Barentsburg, Norway, on October 26 with eight aboard. Searchers recovered the fuselage, rotor and separated tail of the helicopter. Cockpit voice recorder and GPS units were recovered and sent to Moscow for analysis, but the search for the flight data recorder is ongoing. None of the helicopter’s occupants were recovered.
The helicopter was found submerged at a depth of 686 feet/209 meters approximately 1.1 nm/two kilometers off the coastline northeast of Kapp Heer. Divers from the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations assisted during the recovery. The Accident Investigation Board of Norway (AIBN) is coordinating the investigation from Svalbard and is the lead agency. Wreckage will be transported to a suitable facility on the Norwegian mainland for further investigation by the AIBN and the Interstate Aviation Committee.
Russian coal company Arktikugol, operated by Konvers Avia Air, owned the helicopter, which was believed to be on a mission for Russia’s national Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute. It was en route from the abandoned Russian coal settlement of Pyramiden to Barentsburg on the Svalbard archipelago, 500 miles north of the Norwegian mainland. The territory is controlled by Norway, but treaty signatory countries, including Russia, have mineral extraction rights in the area.