A 25-year-old pilot and two tourists tragically died in a helicopter crash before their bodies were dragged away and eaten by brown bears.
Former Russian biathlon star-turned pilot Igor Malinovskii was taking the wealthy passengers to a popular region of Kamchatka on July 16 when the aircraft crashed.
According to reports, the helicopter caught fire when it crashed to the ground. Communications were lost because of bad weather.
The wealthy tourists were identified as Sergey Kolensyak, mobile phone company Tele2 executive, and businesswoman Zoya Kaygorodova, who was in her mid-30s.
Responders found the wreckage on July 17 in the Valley of the Geysers in the Kamchatka peninsula. Photos showed charred remains of the aircraft and scorched ground at the site where it crashed.
“Rescuers in Kamchatka have found the Robinson helicopter, missing since yesterday, burned 13 kilometres south of the Uzon caldera,” said Kamchatka Territory’s Governor Vladimir Solodiv.
“The chopper with two passengers on board and a pilot was on a private flight, and the group was not registered as tourists.
5TV channel said: “The remains of dead tourists after the crash of a Robinson helicopter in Kamchatka were dragged away by bears.”
The bodies were discovered away from the crash site.
The elite tourists were part of a group on a trip to Kamchatka, a peninsula famous for geysers, glaciers, volcanoes, pictures landscape, and also bears.
Kaygorodova, a former manager at Eldorado and TsUM before owning a hygiene products company, reportedly organized the tour.
Ex-sportsman Malinovskii was a five-time junior world champion in biathlon. He retrained as a pilot and worked for a company run by his father, piloting tourists to spectacular areas in Kamchatka.
“Unfortunately, none survived the crash,” Russian Emergencies Ministry said.
A statement from the Russian Biathlon Association also said: “Multiple world junior champion Igor Malinovsky has died. He loved biathlon and aviation. After completing his sports career, Igor became a pilot and worked in his native Kamchatka,’ a statement from the association read.
“We would like to express our deepest condolences to the family and friends.”
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