Eight killed in Russian firefighting plane crashing in southern Turkey

A firefighting plane rented from Russia crashed in a mountainous area in southern Turkey on Saturday. All eight people on board were killed in the accident, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday that eight people aboard a firefighting plane were killed when its Beriev BE-200 amphibian crashed while trying to land in the Turkish province of Adana. He said the plane was carrying five members of the Russian military and three Turkish officers.

Anadolu news agency said the plane was linked to Turkey’s General Directorate of Forestry. Search and rescue teams were dispatched to the neighboring Kahramanmaras area, where the fire and accident were first reported. Anadolu said the plane had already fought fires in Antalya province.

Kahramanmaras Governor Omer Faruk Coskun told Anadolu that a forest fire had started after lightning struck the trees.

“We had sent a plane to the area but we lost communication with the plane a while ago and it crashed. The situation is very new. We sent a lot of units to the area where the plane crashed, ”he said.

Wildfires in Turkey’s Mediterranean region started in late July and have incinerated thousands of acres of forest, mainly in the coastal provinces of Mugla and Antalya. Turkey’s Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said Thursday that firefighters, helicopters and planes had controlled 299 fires over 16 days.

Eight people were killed in the forest fires, which occurred after Turkey and the entire Mediterranean region suffered a prolonged heat wave.

Climate scientists say there is little doubt that climate change from burning coal, oil and natural gas is causing more extreme events, such as heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods and storms.

Anadolu said the plane that crashed had also started fires in Antalya.

( Jowharwith REUTERS, AP)

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