image sourceRussian emergencies ministryimage captionYegveny Zinichev was taking part in a two-day exercise across the Arctic

Russia's Emergencies Minister Yevgeny Zinichev has died in an accident during an Arctic civil defence exercise.

The ministry said Zinichev, 55, had died in Norilsk while trying to save someone's life.

The head of Russian broadcaster RT, Margarita Simonyan, said a cameraman had fallen off a cliff during an interview.

"He and the cameraman were on the edge of a cliff. The cameraman slipped and fell into the water," she said.

"Zinichev rushed after the fallen man and died after hitting a protruding rock."

He had been emergencies minister since 2018 and for years was reportedly a key member of President Vladimir Putin's security detail.

Russian media say they had been filming a training film in the Krasnoyarsk region for the ministry at the time of the accident. A member of the camera crew also died after falling into the water, reports say.

The unprecedented two-day exercise was organised by Zinichev's department and stretched across the Russian Arctic. He said on Tuesday that the "format, geography and involved units are unique".

They were reportedly ordered by President Putin to prevent crisis situations in the Arctic and involved 6,000 specialists covering a dozens emergency situations.

Earlier, the minister visited a search and rescue team and the site of a new fire station in Norilsk.