Tourists die in helicopter crash before corpses dragged off and eaten by bears

A wealthy tourist couple have died after a helicopter crash before their bodies were said to have been "dragged away and eaten by bears".

The two tourists were joined by a former biathlon star who was also killed in the helicopter crash that led to three deaths.

Former sportsman Igor Malinovskii, 25, had been piloting a Robinson helicopter in a popular tourist region of Kamchatka, Russia, when the vehicle came crashing down.

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But after the crash had killed all three members aboard the flight, brown bears are said to have "gnawed" at the corpses of the trio, sifting through the charred remains of the crash site to get at them.

Two passengers on board the elite tourist trip were named as locally known businesswoman Zoya Kaygorodova, mid-30s, and Sergey Kolesnyak, 39, a mobile phone company executive at Swedish-based Tele2.

Charred remains of the crash were found by rescuers who discovered the crashed helicopter named Nadezhda, or Hope.

A visit to the extreme east of Russia's Valley of the Geysers found the tragic remains of the crash in the idyllic tourist spot in Kamchatka.

News station 5TV, citing local sources, said: "The remains of dead tourists after the crash of a Robinson helicopter in Kamchatka were dragged away by bears."

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Human remains are said to have been found near to the site of the crash, while the crash itself is believed to have happened due to poor weather conditions. It is currently under investigation.

Kaygorodova and Kolesnyak were said to be part of a tour group to Kamchatka, with the £4,250 trip to the peninsula that is full of bears. 

Bears, volcanoes and glaciers make the area a fascinating tourist spot for those that can afford the pricey visit, with reports indicating that Kaygorodova had organised the trip.

Kaygorodova was the former manager at leading Russian retailers TsUM and Eldorado before owning a hygiene products company.

The war in Ukraine and subsequent sanctions from world leaders had led to Russians exploring their homemade brands rather than popular western brands refusing to sell to the country.

Malinovskii was a five-time junior world champion biathlete but reports indicate that his career had stalled because of the coronavirus pandemic's impact.

He had since retrained as a pilot and worked for his father Vladimir Malinovskii, ferrying tourists around the remote areas of Kamchatka.

A statement from the Russian Emergencies Ministry read: "Unfortunately, none [of the three people on board] survived the crash."

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