Russian helicopter with eight people on board has smashed into the sea near the Norwegian Arctic archipelago of Svalbard.
A message about the crash appeared on the Twitter account of the Norwegian Rescue Coordination Center. "We don't know if it was a controlled landing", an emergency services spokesman told AFP.
The rescue service said the helicopter went down less than two miles from Barentsburg. He added that there was poor visibility and heavy snowfall in the region.
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Norway was afforded sovereignty of Svalbard, located around 1,000 kilometers from the North Pole, under the 1920 Treaty of Paris. It's known for its stunning views of snow-covered mountains, fjords and glaciers.
Barentsburg is a Russian coal-mining town of about 500 people. There is a Russian settlement where Russian coal mining company operates.
Rescue Service spokesman Tore Hongset told VG that two rescue boats and a helicopter were sent to the scene.
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A rescue helicopter and a frigate were rushed to the site. Local hospitals were on high alert.
As was reported earlier, the helicopter was en route from the mothballed community of Pyramiden to Barentsburg.
In 2008, another Mil Mi-8 crashed near Barentsburg, killing three of its nine occupants.
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