At least 16 people – 13 climbers and three crew members – were reported missing after a helicopter they were travelling in made a “hard landing” in the mountains of Tajikistan on Sunday, AFP quoted the country’s emergency committee’s statement. The accident happened at 4.30 pm local time (5 pm Indian time), committee officials said. The statement did not identify the climbers or the crew.
According to the Russian embassy in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe, the Mi-8 helicopter was carrying 13 Russian citizens on board, reported TASS agency. The embassy is investigating the incident. Two helicopters, with rescue teams and medical personnel, have been dispatched to the crash site.
The helicopter was travelling from the base camp on Fortambek glacier in the Ismoili Somoni Peak, reported BBC. The mountain, at 7,495 metres (24,590 feet), is Tajikistan’s highest peak and a major tourist attraction.
The government of Tajikistan had designated 2018 as the official year for the promotion of tourism, reported Eurasianet. Last month, four foreign cyclists were killed in a hit-and-run attack that was later claimed by the Islamic State group.