Seven killed in military helicopter crash in Turkey’s Giresun
GİRESUN - Doğan News Agency
AA photoSeven people were killed and eight others were wounded on July 5 when a military helicopter carrying top soldiers crashed in the Black Sea province of Giresun, the Turkish General Staff has announced.
The Sikorsky S-70 helicopter was carrying 15 people, including Gendarmerie Region Commander Brigadier Mustafa Doğru, Region Commander Executive Officer Col. Ünal Bayhan, Provincial Gendarmerie Deputy Commander Lt. Col. Saadettin Şahin, Gendarmerie Staff Sgt. Cemalettin Çoban, Gendarmerie Specialized Sgt. Adem Kara, Pilot Cpt. Hilmi Özer, Pilot First Lt. Yüksel Kandemir and Gendarmerie technician non-commissioned officer Muhammet Bedek, along with the wives of the military personnel and three children. They were returning from an Eid al-Fitr visit to military posts and the families of fallen soldiers in the region.
Initial reports that the helicopter had crashed in the Tohumluk highlands of the Alucra district of Giresun started arriving at 5:30 p.m.
Seven people, including soldiers, were killed in the accident while eight others were wounded, the General Staff said in a statement.
Şahin and Özer were killed in the accident, in addition to Doğru’s wife Nuran Doğru and daughter Berrin Doğru, Bayhan’s wife Didem Bayhan and Kara’s wife Sema Kara.
Ünal Bayhan was transferred to Erzincan State Hospital while Çoban was brought to Giresun State Hospital and Kandemir to Sivas Cumhuriyet University Faculty of Medicine.
Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş, who was at the Ordu-Giresun Airport on July 6, said all the injured victims were transferred to the Gülhane Military Hospital (GATA), except for two who remained in critical condition.
“We have seven martyrs in this incident. Brigadier General Mustafa Pasha [Doğru] was heavily wounded. All the wounded here have been transferred to GATA, except for two in critical condition,” Kurtulmuş said, extending his condolences to the nation and the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).
While the General Staff statement said the cause of the accident could not immediately be determined, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said the incident was caused by poor weather conditions.
“Initial information suggests there was a problem related to sight, hence there will be a thorough investigation once the injured and the dead are transferred and work with the wreckage is complete,” Yıldırım said.
“This was not a terror attack; it does not seem possible. We understand the accident was caused by weather conditions,” he added.
A 14-strong accident investigation team was set to be deployed in the region in order to investigate the cause of the accident, according to reports.
Kandemir, who was alive and conscious after the accident, was expected to contribute to the report’s preparation.
In addition, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also contacted Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar for information on the crash.
“I feel deep sorrow over the accident,” Erdoğan said.
The bodies of the soldiers and their families who died in the accident were sent to Ordu-Giresun Airport for a funeral ceremony after investigations at the Forensic Medicine Institution in the Black Sea province were completed on July 6.
The Turkish Army was present at the ceremony at the highest level, as Chief of Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar, Chief of Air Staff Gen. Abidin Ünal, Commander of the Turkish Naval Forces Adm. Bülent Bostanoğlu and Commander of the Turkish Gendarmerie Forces Gen. Galip Mendi attended the funeral. Other senior level commanders were also present, in addition to Giresun Gov. Hasan Karahan and Trabzon Gov. Yücel Yavuz.