Turkish police helicopter crash kills 12

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  Updated April 18, 2017 at 2:23 PM
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April 18 (UPI) -- The Turkish government said 12 people aboard a police helicopter died after a crash in Turkey's eastern Tunceli province.

Anadolu Agency reported the helicopter carried seven police officers, one judge, and one army sergeant, along with three crew members.

Tunceli Governor Osman Kaymak said there were no survivors, Daily Sabah reported.

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said the crash occurred 8 minutes after the helicopter took off at 11:43 a.m. on Tuesday in the Tunceli-Pulumur mountainous area.

Soylu said rescue teams climbed mountainous terrain for more than two hours to reach the crash site, which was near the village of Sarigul at an altitude of 8,00 feet, at about 4:34 p.m. He said rescue teams could not reach the area by helicopter. Soylu blamed the crash of the Sikorsky-type helicopter on bad weather conditions.

"The heavy snow and rain has reduced visibility to about 300 meters," Soylu said.

The Tunceli governorate said authorities lost the helicopter's radar signal after it departed amid bad weather conditions, possibly heavy rainfall and fog, from Tunceli's Pülümür district at 11:40 a.m.

"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.

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