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    Missing Russian Mi-8 Helicopter Found at Depth of 650 Feet Near Spitsbergen

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    An aircraft with eight people on board was heading from the Russian settlement of Pyramida to Barentsburg on Norway's Spitsbergen (Svalbard) archipelago when it disappeared from radars on Thursday.

    Norway's rescue center reported on Sunday that the wreckage of the helicopter was found near Barentsburg on the ocean floor at the depth of 650 feet (approximately 200 meters). The center has specified that the search operation is now over, adding that the Norwegian police will be "in charge of conducting a search for casualties."

    The Russian Emergencies Ministry has sent an Il-76 aircraft to Norway with rescuers and high-tech equipment for search operations in the coastal sea or inland waters for assistance.

    It was earlier confirmed by Russian authorities that all of the people aboard the helicopter were Russian citizens with three of them being scientists from Russia's Arctic Research Institut.

    The helicopter has reportedly plunged into the sea several kilometers from Barentsburg. Russia's 5th channel has released a video of the crash site.

    Spitsbergen is Norway's territory but under the 1920 Treaty of Paris, the countries that signed the agreement can exploit the resources of the archipelago. Russia operated a mine in the archipelago and has several inhabited settlements there, including Pyramida and Barentsburg.

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