- Pair thought to have been dropped off on fishing trip in northern Russia
- It is believed helicopter 'lurched' into them and Russian national on take off
By Will Stewart
Two British tourists were killed in the far north of Russia today after a helicopter struck them while they were standing on the ground.
The pair were believed to be on a fishing expedition around 90 miles east of the Arctic city of Murmansk.
One report said they were killed by the blade of a helicopter which lurched to one side during take-off, after it had dropped the fishermen near a remote tourist camp.
'Three people were killed, two of them are British citizens,' said a source in the Russian emergencies ministry.
Tragedy: The helicopter which is thought to have killed the three men was a Eurocopter 120B (stock image, this helicopter was not involved in the crash)
One Russian news website report called the dead pair 'VIP tourists' who were on a special fishing trip with a custom-made itinerary to some of the world's remotest rivers.
Russian television channel NTV reported the three victims were 'literally chopped to death' by the helicopter.
There were also claims that the veteran pilot 'could have been trying to hide information about what happened' in the fatal incident.
The names of the dead were not initially reported. The British Embassy in Moscow was said to be offering assistance.
'After take-off, the helicopter tilted and fell onto its side. Three people who were on the ground at the time died of their injuries,' said a source at Russia's aviation agency Rosaviatsia.
'Most likely, three people on the ground were killed by the blade of the helicopter that was trying to get off the ground.'
An emergency signal was received from a private Eurocopter E120B helicopter, owned by the corporate travel company Alliance Avia, at 11am local time (8am UK time).
'The accident occurred 45km to southwest of Tumanny settlement in Kolsky district of the Murmansk region,' said emergencies ministry spokesman Oleg Voronov.
'We know that the helicopter's passengers got off, and during a takeoff the helicopter lurched to the side and smashed into the people.'
The third man to die was a Russian citizen. The helicopter pilot survived the crash.
The Emergencies Ministry sent a helicopter to the scene to help.