Three firefighters missing in Turkey helicopter crash

Minister says it crashed while picking up water to douse a forest fire on Saturday night


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Published: Sun 17 Sep 2023, 3:34 PM

Turkish scuba divers searched Sunday for three firefighters who went missing when their helicopter crashed into a water reservoir near the western resort city of Izmir.

Agriculture and Forestry Minister Ibrahim Yumakli said the helicopter crashed while picking up water to douse a forest fire on Saturday night.

The helicopter team included three Kyrgyz nationals and one Turk. One of the Kyrgyz nationals was rescued and rushed to hospital in good condition.

"The divers have identified the wreckage," Yumakli said in televised remarks.

"They cannot see anything clearly right now because the visibility is very low."

Global warming caused by human-caused greenhouse gas emissions is changing weather patterns and contributing to a years-long drought across swathes of Turkey.

Turkey has funnelled resources into its emergency response efforts after being gripped by devastating fires in 2021 that killed nine people and heaped political pressure on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan responded by pushing through Turkey's delayed ratification of the Paris Climate Accords and investing in new firefighting planes and helicopters.


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