Russian firefighting aircraft crashes in Turkey with 8 people on board, reports say

Local Turkish leader says officials ‘lost communication’ with firefighting plane before it crashed

Conrad Duncan
Saturday 14 August 2021 21:08
Russian firefighting aircraft crashes in Turkey

Russia’s defence ministry has said that a Be-200 firefighting aircraft has crashed in Turkey, with five Russian servicemen and three Turkish citizens on board, according to reports.

The Russian independent news agency Interfax reported officials as saying that the plane crashed near Adana in southern Turkey on Saturday when it was due to land, but there has been no details on any casualties yet.

In Turkey, state media also reported that a firefighting plane that had been rented from Russia crashed in a mountainous area in the southern part of the country.

Anadolu news agency said that the plane was linked to the General Directory of Forestry and that search and rescue teams had been sent to the area in Kahramanmaras.

Meanwhile, the private news agency DHA said the plane crashed as it was fighting a forest fire, adding that the cause of the crash had not yet been identified.

Kahramanmaras governor Omer Faruk Coskun told Anadolu that a wildfire had begun after lightning struck trees.

"We had dispatched a plane to the area but we lost communication with the plane a while ago and it crashed,” Mr Coskun said.

“The situation is very new. We dispatched many units to the area where the plane crashed.”

Wildfires in Turkey’s Mediterranean region began in late July and have destroyed thousands of acres of forests, mostly in the seaside provinces of Mugla and Antalya.

On Thursday, Turkish foreign minister Bekir Pakdemirli said that 299 fires had been brought under control over 16 days by firefighters, helicopters and planes.

Eight people have died in the wildfires that emerged following a prolonged heatwave, with experts warning that such extreme weather events are more likely due to climate change.

Additional reporting by agencies

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