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Helicopter death Britons named

Two Britons killed in a helicopter accident in Russia have been named by the Foreign Office.

It issued a statement on behalf of the families of Mark Robertson and Rupert Beaumont, saying: "Both families are devastated by yesterday's tragic news. Both men will be deeply missed by their families and many friends. We are all very grateful for all the help we are receiving at home and in Russia but for now we would appreciate a bit of privacy to allow us to take it all in."

Both men were believed to be in their late 60s and were in the Murmansk region of northern Russia when the accident happened on Sunday morning.

Mr Beaumont, believed to have been a corporate lawyer, and Mr Robertson, thought to have been a fine art dealer, were reportedly on a fishing expedition. They are thought to have alighted from their Eurocopter aircraft, which then crashed on take-off, killing the two Britons as well as a third person, their guide.

The Russian guide was thought to have been Alexander Tushnikov, a specialist in fishing trips to the Arctic north of Russia.

The helicopter's pilot, who survived the accident, was reported to have been Alexander Shabalin - a man with 25 years of flying experience. Both the dead Britons are believed to have come from Hampshire. Both were thought to have been 69.

Christopher Saul, a partner at law firm Slaughter and May, paid tribute to his friend and former colleague Mr Beaumont, who retired as a senior partner in the company in 2001.

Mr Saul told the online Daily Mail: "This is the most tragic news. Rupert was with the firm for over 30 years and built a hugely successful practice. He was admired by colleagues and clients alike for his wonderful legal skills, his creativity, his grace under pressure and his warmth and charm. He will be enormously missed and our hearts go out to his family."

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