At least five people, including three mountaineers and two crew members, have been killed in a Sunday helicopter mountain crash, a reliable source told Asia-Plus in an interview.

According to him, rescuers reached the site of the accident and “they are working to retrieve the survivors.” “A good radio contact has been made with them [mountaineers] and they will be evacuated from the scene of the accident at any moment,” the source told Asia-Plus late Monday afternoon. 

Meanwhile, the Committee on Emergency Situations and Civil Defense under the Government of Tajikistan is expected to give detailed comments on the accident in the coming hours.  

As it had been reported earlier, according to reports circulating on social media, eleven  those onboard were Russian nationals and the other mountaineers were from Belarus and Spain.

All the crew were Tajik citizens.  The helicopter had reportedly been leased from the National Guard of Tajikistan and the expedition had been organized by PamirPeaks, a company that has exclusive rights to lead tours up Ismoil Somoni Peak.

According to some sources, expeditions to the mountain can cost around 5,000 U.S. dollars per person.

Recall, CES has reported that an Mi-8 helicopter with 3 crew and 13 mountaineers on board was forced to make a crash landing Sunday (August 12) afternoon, at about 4:30 pm, as it approached the base camp at the Fortambek Glacier.

The mountaineers were reportedly returning to the base camp after ascending Tajikistan’s tallest mountain – Ismoili Somoni Peak,

Ismoili Somoni Peak is the highest mountain in Tajikistan.  It was within the territory of the former Russian Empire and the former Soviet Union before the area became independent as Tajikistan.  The mountain is named after Ismoili Somoni, a ruler of the Samanid dynasty.

When the existence of a peak in the Soviet Pamir Mountains higher than Lenin Peak was first established in 1928, the mountain was tentatively identified with Garmo Peak.  However, as the result of the work of further Soviet expeditions, it became clear by 1932 that they were not the same, and in 1933 the new peak, in the Academy of Sciences Range, was named Stalin Peak, after Joseph Stalin.  In 1962, as part of Khrushchev's nationwide de-Stalinization process, the name was changed to Communism Peak, a name by which it is still commonly known.  The name Communism Peak was officially dropped in 1998 in favor of the current name, commemorating the 9th century Samanid emir, Ismoili Somoni.

The first ascent was made on September 3, 1933 by the Soviet mountaineer Yevgeniy Abalakov.

The Pamirs are a traditional tourist region and high altitude mountaineering.  There two Pamir tops superbly ascend in the sky: the Peak of Eugenia Korzhenevskaya – 7,105 meters and the Peak of Ismoili Somoni – 7,495 meters.  They are tremendously the mainstream with climbers everywhere throughout the world.