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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Helicopter Crash Kills Steel Executive, Wife

The vice president of metallurgy giant Yevrazholding, Anatoly Smolyaninov, and his wife were killed in a helicopter crash Sunday in the mountainous Khakassia republic, Emergency Situations Ministry officials said Tuesday.

The bodies of Smolyaninov, 48, and his wife, Olga, were recovered only Tuesday, after the helicopter pilot was found making a signal fire a few kilometers away from the crash site by a Yevrazholding search party. The three were the only people on board.

Smolyaninov's party was en route to the picturesque Lake Karakhol from Lake Chyornoye on Sunday, when their helicopter -- described in news reports only as small and foreign-made -- crashed at the foot of the 3,000-meter Mount Kalkash.

Emergency Situations Ministry officials expressed anger with Yevrazholding for waiting until Tuesday to notify them of the crash and for running their own, unsanctioned rescue operation.

Yevrazholding also waited to release the pilot to authorities for one day after he was found, they said.

"Maybe they thought they could cover it up and everything would be OK," said Alexander Alikherov, an official with the Khakassia regional branch of the Emergency Situations Ministry.

Smolyaninov neglected to notify air traffic control authorities of his flights in southern Khakassia, as did members of the company's subsequent rescue mission, in violation of aviation rules, a ministry duty officer in the regional capital of Abakan said. "This is a catastrophe, he broke all the rules ... he allowed himself to behave with presidential authority," the officer said by telephone.

A prosecutor's office and Interior Ministry investigation into the cause of the crash is under way.

Yevrazholding is one of the country's top steel producers. With a capacity comparable to Japan's Kawasaki, Yevrazholding produced 13.4 million tons of steel worth $2 billion last year. It also owns the Nakhodka port in the Far East as well as a handful of mining companies.