Two killed in helicopter crash fighting fire in Turkey's Southwest
Two crew members have died after a fire fighting helicopter has crashed in Turkey while on its way to tackling a wildfire. Turkey's Interior Ministry said the aircraft went down on Wednesday, 21 September 2022, in a field near Marmaris, a resort town on the Aegean Sea. Officials say the helicopter had been travelling from the northern province of Kastamonu to tackle a forest fire around the Yalancibogaz area of Marmaris. Five others on board were injured in the incident.
The Mugla local governor's office said the fire erupted in forests around the Yalancibogaz area. Television images showed heavy smoke rising from mountains bordering the sea.
Winds blowing at 14km per hour were fuelling the blaze, the Mugla municipality office said. 15 helicopters and eight aircraft were dumping water on the fire, while 500 forestry personnel, 40 water trucks and police water cannons worked on the ground to extinguish it.
Turkey's interior ministry said in a statement that the fire fighting helicopter crashed near Cardak province, some 200km away from the wildfire. Turkey’s minister of agriculture and forestry, Vahit Kirsci, said two Turkish citizens and three others Russians on the helicopter were injured but were not in critical condition. The deceased were a flight engineer and a flight technician.
Human-induced climate change is making heatwaves more likely and more severe, scientists say.
Last summer's wildfires, most of which also occurred near Marmaris, were the most intense on record in Turkey, a European Union atmosphere monitor said at the time, adding that the Mediterranean had become a wildfire hot spot.
The government came under criticism for its inadequate response and preparedness to fight large-scale wildfires, including a lack of modern fire fighting aircraft.
Source: Thomson Reuters, Euro News, The Washington Post