Wealthy Russian tourists mauled by bears after helicopter crash

·2-min read

Two wealthy Russian tourists and a former sports star have been killed in a helicopter crash before reportedly being dragged away and mauled by brown bears.

Igor Malinovsky, 25, a world junior biathlon champion, was piloting the helicopter in Kamchatka, a bear-infested peninsula in east Siberia famous for its volcanoes and glaciers, on Saturday when all communications were suddenly lost due to bad weather, local media reports.

It’s believed the Mi-8 chopper, named Hope, caught fire before crashing to the ground, killing all three passengers on board, including well-known businesswoman Zoya Kaygorodova, who is in her mid-30s, and Sergey Kolesnyak, 39, a mobile phone company executive at Tele2.

Igor Malinovsky, 25, and the helicopter crash site.
Igor Malinovsky, 25, a world junior biathlon champion, was piloting the helicopter in Kamchatka. Source: East2West/Australscope

Rescuers found the charred remains of the helicopter 13km from the Uzon volcano the following day.

Footage of the crash site shows the wreckage scattered across a scorched mountain.

'Tormented by bears'

The human remains were also reportedly found.

“The remains of dead tourists after the crash of a Robinson helicopter in Kamchatka were dragged away by bears,” Russian channel 5TV reports, later describing their bodies as being “tormented by animals”.

It’s believed Ms Kaygorodova, who recently created a hygiene product company, and Mr Kolesnyak were on a $7400 sightseeing trip, according to the publication.

Businesswoman Zoya Kaygorodova and Sergey Kolesnyak, who were killed in the helicopter crash.
Businesswoman Zoya Kaygorodova, who is in her mid-30s, and Sergey Kolesnyak, 39, a mobile phone company executive at Tele2, were also killed in the helicopter crash. Source: East2West/Australscope

Ms Kaygorodova had reportedly organised the tour.

After a successful sports career, Mr Malinovsky became a pilot and was working in his native Kamchatka, the Russian Biathlon Association said in a statement.

It’s understood he was working for a company run by his father Vladimir Malinovskii ferrying tourists to remote and spectacular sights.

Investigation into helicopter crash ongoing

Vladimir Solodov, Governor of the Kamchatka Territory, has claimed the tourists did not register their flight.

“Kamchatka rescuers, 13 km south of the Uzon volcano, discovered a burned-out Robinson helicopter, which disappeared from communication yesterday,” he wrote on his social media accounts last weekend.

“The helicopter with two passengers and a pilot was on a private flight, the group was not registered as tourists.

“Yesterday in the area of the helicopter crash site there was low cloud cover and unfavourable weather for flights.”

He said authorities are investigating what led to the crash.

with Australscope

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