Helicopter crash in eastern Turkey martyrs 12 on board

Rescue team reaches wreckage of crashed copter in Tunceli province; 7 police officers and 1 judge among martyrs

 Helicopter crash in eastern Turkey martyrs 12 on board


By Haydar Toprakci


Rescue teams have reached the wreckage of a helicopter that crashed in eastern Turkey Tuesday, martyring all 12 people on board.

The helicopter carried seven police officers, one judge, and one army sergeant, along with three crew members.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said that the helicopter disappeared at 11.43 a.m. local time (0840GMT) after it took off from the eastern Tunceli-Pulumur mountainous area about eight minutes earlier.

The rescue teams had to climb for over two hours to reach the wreckage, at around 4:34 p.m., said Soylu.

The crash site was an area close to the village of Sarigul, at an altitude of almost 2,500 meters, Soylu said.

“The heavy snow and rain has reduced visibility to about 300 meters,” he said, adding that the rescue teams couldn’t reach the area by helicopter.

Soylu also blamed the crash of the Sikorsky-type helicopter on bad weather conditions.

“According to the initial investigation at the scene, the incident is not a terrorist attack, but is caused by the bad weather conditions,” the Tunceli Governor's Office said in a statement later in the same day.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan extended his condolences in a statement sent to General Director of Security Selami Altinok.

In a tweet, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu also conveyed condolences to the victims' families.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli also expressed his condolences to the families of the victims.

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