Turkish pilot foils PKK attempt to blow up helicopter
From online dispatches
The Turkish Army frequently uses helicopters to deploy soldiers to remote locations during military operations. Turkish Armed Forces photo
A helicopter pilot transporting Turkish soldiers to a rural area in eastern Turkey narrowly avoided falling into a booby trap set by militants when he realized the patch of ground he was about to land on had been disturbed, leading him to abort the landing.
A subsequent dig revealed that an explosive device had been buried at the location by suspected members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The PKK had intensified its road block activities in the eastern province of Tunceli’s Ovacık district last week in a purported plan to lure troop-transporting helicopters into a trap, daily Milliyet reported on its website today.
A squadron of soldiers from the gendarmerie was dispatched to rural Ovacık to search for the PKK militants blocking roads in the vicinity. The pilot of a Sikorsky transport helicopter found a suitable location in the rugged terrain and was about to land when he realized the ground he was about to land on appeared to have been newly turned over. Suspecting a trap, the pilot aborted the mission and returned to base while a separate team was sent to inspect the location.
Soldiers searching the location found a "very powerful explosive device" buried in the ground and destroyed it.
Two PKK militants were killed and four were injured in an operation following the incident, while numerous other explosives buried in clearings in the woodlands – suitable places for helicopters to land – were found and destroyed.
The PKK is recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.