Turks, Lebanese among 7 dead in Italy helicopter crash

Turks, Lebanese among 7 dead in Italy helicopter crash

Turks, Lebanese among 7 dead in Italy helicopter crash

Seven bodies were found Saturday in the wreckage of a helicopter that disappeared in the mountains of northern Italy two days ago, with no survivors, emergency services said.

Four Turkish citizens were on board the helicopter which went missing on Thursday, the Turkish foreign ministry said, while Lebanese President Michel Aoun said he mourned the death of two nationals on board.

The pilot was Italian, originally from Venice, according to the ANSA news agency, which reported that the others had been on a business trip.

"After the discovery on Mount Cusna of the remains of the aircraft that disappeared on June 9, the unfortunately lifeless bodies of the seven people on board were found in the wreckage," Italy’s fire service announced.

The alpine rescue service said: "No survivors have been found."

The Italian air force, fire and police services were all involved in the search for the aircraft which disappeared after leaving the city of Lucca on Thursday.

The helicopter went missing in a sparsely populated mountainous area, and bad weather hampered the first attempts to find it.

In a video posted on Twitter, an unnamed spokesman for the Italian air force said that after the wreckage was spotted from the air, rescue teams had to go in on foot.

"We went to the place and found everything burned," he said.

A spokesman for the alpine rescue service had warned on Friday that the search would not be easy. "If a helicopter falls amongst trees, in this season the branches close over it and it is complicated to see it from the sky," he told AFP.

The two Lebanese victims Chadi Kreidy and Tarek Tayah were both business executives working for a well-known Lebanese industrial company.

Kreidy, 47, was a father of four and an active member of the president’s political party, the Free Patriotic Movement.

"They were working to strengthen Lebanese industry and provide it with all that is new and advanced," Aoun said on Saturday.

"I offer my heartfelt condolences to their families and loved ones."

Tayah, 60, was a father of three. The family had already been hit by tragedy in 2020 when his jewellery designer wife was killed in the massive explosion which devastated Beirut port and adjacent areas of the capital.

Their daughter gifted French President Emmanuel Macron a Lebanon-shaped pin made by her late mother when he visited Beirut in the aftermath of the explosion.

The helicopter disappeared from radar screens Thursday morning as it flew over the province of Modena in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines. It was carrying seven people, including four Turkish citizens, from Lucca to Treviso to visit a tissue paper production facility.

The Turks on board worked for Turkish industrial group Eczacıbaşı, which said they were taking part in a trade fair.

Eczacıbaşı said late Friday its board chairman, Bülent Eczacıbaşı, and senior executives had arrived in the area, along with Turkey’s ambassador to Italy.