kamchatka brown bear
Kamchatka brown bear with cub; (photo/WIkipedia)

‘Wild Bears’ Eat Biathlete and 2 Passengers After Helicopter Crash

Russian authorities confirmed the deaths of world junior biathlon champion Igor Malinovsky, who was also a helicopter pilot, and a wealthy couple aboard the aircraft.

Wild bears dragged three bodies from the wreckage of a downed helicopter, mauled, and ate them, Russian media NTV reported.

Authorities recovered the remains of three people aboard the craft, which lost communication on July 16 and was discovered a day later in Kamchatka, a peninsula located in the Russian Far East.

The victims were 25-year-old Igor Malinovsky, a five-time world junior biathlon champion and helicopter pilot, entrepreneur Zoya Kaygordova, and telecom executive Sergey Kolesnyak. Kaygordova and Kolesnyak reportedly booked the flight as an “elite tourist trip,” according to the Daily Mail.

Officials discovered the wreckage and bodies on July 17 and noted that “low clouds” and conditions were “unfavorable” for flying, Euro Weekly reported.

According to Newsweek, the helicopter, which belonged to a company owned by Malinovsky’s father, Vladimir, reportedly caught fire as it came crashing down.

The crash site was 13 km from the Uzon Volcano on the Kamchatka peninsula, an area in Far East Russia about the size of California. Brown bears in that area are the largest on the continent, weighing up to 1,500 pounds, standing nearly 10 feet tall on hind legs, and numbering between 10,000 and 14,000.

Russian authorities are still investigating the cause of the crash.

Adam Ruggiero

Adam Ruggiero is the editor-in-chief of GearJunkie and a fan of virtually all sports and activities. From biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming — if it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.