The bodies of three tourists who died in a helicopter crash in Russia met a gruesome fate as they were reportedly dragged away and eaten by bears.
25-year-old former biathlete Igor Malinovskii was piloting a helicopter in the Kamchatka peninsula in far east Siberia when the vehicle crashed.
Also aboard was 39-year-old mobile phone company executive Sergey Kolesnyak and Zoya Kaygorodova, a businesswoman in her mid 30s who organised the trip to the popular tourist destination.
The crash occurred on 16 July, with the trip going wrong when bad weather cut off contact to the helicopter where it is believed to have caught fire and then crashed.
Rescue teams found the charred remains of the helicopter the next day, though an investigation determined the bodies of the three had been dragged away and eaten by bears after the crash.
The three bodies of the tourists have since been recovered, while the cause of the crash is under investigation.
Their bodies had been 'dragged away and gnawed by brown bears' before investigators could reach the site of the crash.
25-year-old Malinovskii was a five times junior world biathlon champion but his athletic career had been put on hold during the pandemic.
During that time he retrained as a helicopter pilot and began working for his father's company transporting tourists across Kamchatka in the far eastern Siberian peninsula.
The Kamchatka region of Russia is famous for volcanoes and glaciers, but there are also plenty of bear-infested areas which make it potentially dangerous for tourists visiting the area.
Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine more Russians have been taking domestic holidays rather than going abroad.
Being attacked by bears is a rare but risky occurrence for tourists in Russia as last year a tourist was killed by one while camping with friends.
42-year-old Yevgeny Starkov was camping with three friends in the Yergaki Nature Park when a bear attacked as they were putting away their tents.
Starkov was mauled to death while his friends had to travel barefoot for seven hours to get help, with bad weather conditions meaning a rescue helicopter was unable to reach them.
In that case it is thought that the bear had been attracted by the camper's food, attacking them early in the morning as they packed up their belongings and forcing the men to flee.
In the case of an attack by brown bears the advice is to lay on the ground and play dead, whereas for black bears you are supposed to make yourself as big as possible to scare it off.
Featured Image Credit: East2West News
Topics: World News, Animals, Russia