GIRESUN, Turkey, July 5 (UPI) — Bad weather is being blamed for a military helicopter crash off the coast of Turkey on Tuesday, which officials say killed multiple soldiers, as well as civilians who were along for the ride.
The Sikorsky S-70 military transport helicopter was flying near the Black Sea, near Giresun, when it went down in rainy weather, officials said. Fifteen people were on board — eight military personnel and seven civilians.
Among the military members, officials said, were Gendarmerie Region Commander Brigadier Mustafa Doğru, a Turkish colonel and two majors. The civilians consisted of four of the soldiers’ wives and three children.
It was unclear initially who was killed, but Turkish officials said that at least two soldiers and four civilians died in the crash and that the other eight were injured.
Justice and Development Party Giresun deputy Cemal Öztürk reportedly said that seven people were killed in the accident.
Those aboard the chopper were traveling to nearby Eid al-Fitr celebrations when the helicopter crashed in the Tohumluk highlands at about 5.30 p.m. local time.
“I feel deep sorrow over the accident,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said.
The S-70 is a medium transport/utility chopper manufactured by Connecticut-based Sikorsky Aircraft.