(Adds Apatit CEO was on board)
MOSCOW, June 1 Sixteen people, including the
head of Apatit, a fertiliser supplier, were missing and two
survived with injuries after an Mi-8 helicopter crashed into a
lake in Russia's northwest Murmansk region, the Emergencies
Ministry said on Sunday.
The state-owned RIA Novosti news agency, citing an unnamed
source, said regional government officials and businessmen were
aboard the helicopter and that they were on a fishing trip.
A spokesman for PhosAgro, one of the world's
largest producer of phosphate fertilisers, told Reuters that
Alexei Grigoryev, the head of its Apatit subsidiary, was on
board the helicopter. He declined to elaborate.
The Emergencies Ministry said on its website that the
helicopter, which included five crew members, crashed on
Saturday night near the village of Vostochnoye Munozero. Sixteen
of the occupants were unaccounted for, while two were rescued.
Russia's federal Investigative Committee said it had begun a
criminal inquiry into the crash on the basis of suspected
breaches of air safety rules. Mechanical failure as well as poor
weather conditions were possible factors in the crash, it said.
Accidents involving Mi-8 aircraft are frequent in Russia,
which has been criticised for its poor air safety record. The
Soviet-designed helicopter is widely used for ferrying people
and cargo to remote areas of the world's largest country.
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin and Andrey Kuzmin; Editing by