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    MI-8 HELICOPTER LANDS ON NORTH POLE-32 FLOATING STATION

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    MOSCOW/MURMANSK, March 6 (RIA Novosti) - A representative of the Russian Emergencies Ministry reported to RIA Novosti that a MI-8 helicopter of Arkhangelsk airlines landed on the North Pole-32 floating station and a MI-26 helicopter was approaching it.

    He stated that the operation to evacuate polar explorers started.

    Mr. Danilov indicated that evacuation of polar explorers would be completed today.

    On March 3 the station got into a compression zone. A resulting bank of ice hummocks covered part of housing and service premises. None of 12 polar explorers was injured.

    The Arctic regional frontier guard department of the Russian Federal Security Service reported to RIA Novosti that the second MI-26 helicopter involved in the rescue operation would not land on the ice floe.

    A representative of the department stated that "the helicopter would hover over it and with special devices would hoist polar explorers on board." A MI-26 helicopter's weight is about 40 tons, and the ice floe of about two meters thick might fail to withstand the weight of the aircraft.

    Presently equipment and belongings of polar explorers are being loaded on board the MI-8 helicopter, which landed earlier on the ice floe.

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