BREAKING: Russian chopper crashes off Norway’s coast

The aircraft was leaving an abandoned mining settlement.

(The Independent) – A Russian helicopter with eight people on board has crashed into the sea off Norway’s Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, officials have said.

The rescue service for northern Norway says the helicopter was en route to Barentsburg, Svalbard’s second largest settlement, from an abandoned Russian settlement known as Pyramiden.

Svalbard is more than 800km (500 miles) north of Norway’s mainland. It’s known for its stunning views of snow-covered mountains, fjords and glaciers.

The rescue service said the helicopter went down 2km to 3km (1.3 to 1.9 miles) from Barentsburg.

Rescue service spokesman Tore Hongset told Norwegian news agency NTB it had not received a mayday signal from the helicopter.

An official at the Russian company Convers Avia Air said it owned the craft and had lost communication with it.

Pyramiden is a former coal mining settlement to which Russia acquired the rights some 80 years ago. It features the most northern statue of Vladimir Lenin.

Its inhabitants left in 1998.

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