A wealthy couple’s helicopter crashed in a Russian wilderness, where they were mauled and eaten by bears, along with the pilot.
The helicopter was flown by well-known Russian biathlete Igor Malinovsky, with business couple Zoya Kaygorodova and Sergey Kolesnyak on board.
The helicopter lost communication on July 16 due to bad weather, Euro Weekly News reported. The helicopter wreckage was discovered by rescuers the next day in Kamchatka, a peninsula located in the Russian Far East.
Remains of the three people on board were found near the Semyachkov Pass three hours later, just 12 kilometers from the Uzon volcano, according to the Ministry of Emergency Situations.
NTV reported that it is believed the corpses were dragged away, mauled, and eaten by wild bears that populate the region.
‘The helicopter caught fire when it came crashing down, according to a report.
The region of Kamchatka has one of the highest densities of brown bears on the earth. The peninsula was once highly populated with bears, but they now remain in remote, rural areas. Approximately 10,000 to 14,000 bears live in the Peninsula, which is estimated to be the size of California.
Bears usually eat insects, plants, and fish, rather than seeking out human beings. Kamchatka brown bears have access to richer food sources such as salmon, pine nuts, and berries. However, bears still take advantage of food that is readily available.
The couple had been exploring the peninsula and were reportedly tourists to the area. It still remains unclear whether the passengers were dead before being taken by the bears. The helicopter belonged to a company owned by Malinovsky’s father.
Euro News Weekly reported that rescuers noted at the scene that the weather was not in good condition for flying.
NTV reported that a criminal investigation has been launched into the crash and deaths of the passengers.