Turkish police have detained 16 people, including 13 military officers (11 active, 2 retired from duty), as part of an investigation into a helicopter crash that killed a politician. President Abdullah Gul has voiced suspicion about the circumstances of the crash after two components, including the flight recorder went missing following the March 2009 accident involving a red and white Bell LongRanger IV operated by MedAir. Six people died in the crash, including hardline nationalist politician Muhsin Yazicioglu, leader of Great Union Party (local name BBP – BÃ¼yÃ¼k Birlik Partisi), and suspicion surrounds the possibility that he was deliberately targetted.Â The helicopter came down in a mountainous region in bad weather after leaving an election rally in southern Kahramanmaras province, bound for the central province of Yozgat.
A video which recently became public shows a total of four officers – one is removing the black box containing two recording devices from the front panel of the helicopter, while two others look on. A fourth officer is thought to be the one making the video.
Turkish-German pilot Volkan SÃ¼rmeli, who was invited to Turkey by the BBP to investigate the helicopter crash, told a Turkish newspaper that he has received threats from one of the investigation team who has since been arrested by Police as part of their investigation.
There are still many unanswered questions, though, and some of these are contradictory to each other:-
- Why did it take 47 hours to find the wreckage, despite the fact all those on board had mobile phones, which makes their location easy to find because of the signals they send to base stations.Â (No allowance being given for local weather conditions in that question, HeliHub.com notes)
- Why was a single-engined helicopter chosen that day when the weather forecast was so poor?
- Ä°smail GÃ¼neÅŸ, an Ä°hlas news agency reporter, died in the crash and his body was found 500m from the crash site with a broken jaw.Â So how did he reportedly make an emergency phone call and speak clearly to the operator?
- Despite reports of no network coverage, someone answered calls received on YÃ¼ksel YancÄ±’s [another victim] cell phone at 22:45 and 22:58 hours. According to the autopsy report, all the victims were frozen to death by then.
HeliHub.com holds a page for every helicopter accident – here’s the one related to this story – 25-Mar-09 TC-HEK Bell B206L4 Haci Omerli, Turkey (6F)
Various other photos etc in this local language report
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com
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