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July 23, 2012

Turkish Paramilitary Helicopter Crash Near Iraq Border Kills Four

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Written by: BNO News
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Turkish Sikorsky S-70 helicopter similar to the crashed aircraft. (Photo by Turkish Naval Forces)

A paramilitary helicopter crashed in southeastern Turkey late Sunday afternoon, killing four service members and injuring eight others, military officials said. There were conflicting reports about the cause of the crash, with rebels claiming they downed the aircraft.

The incident happened at about 4:55 p.m. local time when the Sikorsky S-70 aircraft was attempting to land in Hakkâri Province, which is bordered by Iraq in the south and by Iran in the east. The aircraft was carrying four crew members and eleven passengers, the military said.

“As a result of the accident, four service members have been killed and eight others have been wounded,” a military spokesperson said, without identifying the casualties. The spokesperson said the helicopter crashed as a result of a loss of power and said the aircraft was completely destroyed.

Firat News, which has close ties to Kurdish rebels, claimed the aircraft crashed after being fired at. Kurdish rebels have fought for decades to establish the eastern and southeastern regions of Turkey as an autonomous Kurdish state. Over 40,000 soldiers and civilians have been killed in violent clashes since the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) took arms.

The aircraft involved in Sunday’s accident belonged to the Turkish Gendarmerie.

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