Two killed as helicopter crashes enroute to wildfire in Marmaris
A firefighting helicopter crashed on Sept. 21 as it headed to the Aegean town of Marmaris to combat a wildfire, killing two Russian crew members, Agriculture and Forestry Ministry has said.
Minister Vahit Kirişçi said two Turkish citizens and three other Russians on the helicopter were injured but were not in critical condition.
The deceased were a flight engineer and a flight technician.
An official from the General Directorate of Forestry stated the helicopter had flown in from the northern province of Kastamonu to join others in Marmaris, a resort town in the Aegean province of Muğla.
There was no immediate explanation of why the helicopter, a Russian Kamov KA-32, crashed into a field.
The governor of the neighboring province of Denizli said a crash investigation has been opened.
The fire was brought under control, Muğla Governor Orhan Tavlı announced.
One person suspected of causing the wildfire was detained, according to a statement by the Muğla Public Prosecutor’s Office.
The wildfire erupted in forests around the Yalancı Boğaz area of Marmaris. Images showed heavy smoke behind lush hills that bordered the sea. Strong winds fueled the blaze.
Twenty-three helicopters and fourteen planes have dumped water on the fire, while more than 700 forestry personnel, 83 water trucks and police water cannons worked on the ground.
According to the statement made by the governor’s office, coast guard teams closed the area to sea traffic where helicopters and planes took water.
Citizens also carried water bowsers with tractors to the region to assist the extinguishing efforts.
The Defense Ministry provided support to the firefighting efforts with an unmanned aerial vehicle, 10 helicopters, sprinklers, water tankers, dozers, various fire extinguishing vehicles and staff.
[HH] Climate change cause more extremes
Last summer, blazes fed by strong winds and scorching temperatures tore through forests in Türkiye’s Mediterranean and Aegean regions, including in Marmaris, killing at least eight people and countless animals.
Climate scientists say heat waves are more intense, more frequent and longer because of climate change, and coupled with droughts have made wildfires harder to fight.
They say climate change will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.
Meanwhile, the heavy rain disrupted the daily life in the southern province of Osmaniye and the Central Anatolian province of Nevşehir.
In some areas in Osmaniye, cars were stuck on the road and submerged in the water.
Houses and workplaces located on the ground floors of buildings were flooded.
A minibus that entered an underpass closed to traffic due to flooding was stuck in the water, while the people in the vehicle were pulled out by firefighters and the minibus was rescued with the help of a rope.
Downpours also caused flooding in Nevşehir’s Gülşehir district, where cultivated areas were damaged.
Municipal teams started work to open the roads closed due to torrential rain.