Istanbul helicopter crash: Four Russians among victims of accident after aircraft hits TV tower in dense fog

Helicopter belonging to Eczacibasi group crashes on to nearby motorway

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A helicopter carrying business executives has crashed in Istanbul, killing at least five people.

The Sikorsky S-76 helicopter had taken off from Istanbul's main Ataturk airport with seven people on board minutes before the accident,

Belonging to the Eczacibasi group of companies, it had been carrying a Turkish official, four Russian citizens and two Turkish pilots. 

A damaged car near the site of a helicopter crash in Istanbul, Turkey, on 10 March (EPA)

The victims were named as Eczacıbaşı Vitra Russia CEO Salim Özen and his Russian guests Aleksandır Vanin, Igor Kochergin, Luidmina Churova and Elena Badraga by Hurriyet.

It was unclear whether any survivors had been found.

Witnesses said the aircraft hit a television tower in dense fog before crashing on to a nearby motorway in Büyükçekmece district.

Fikret Karatekin, a taxi driver, told CNN-Turk television: “It hit the tower and crashed by spinning.”

The helicopter broke into pieces left scattered along the E-5 motorway, which was closed as firefighters cleared the burning wreckage. 

It is believed to have crashed into the Endem TV Tower, which stands at a height of 236m and houses a revolving restaurant and observation deck.

Vasip Sahin, the governor of Istanbul, said the cause of the crash is under investigation.