Baku, August 15, AZERTAC
A firefighting plane linked to Turkey's General Directorate of Forestry crashed in the southern province of Kahramanmaras on Saturday, killing all eight people on board, according to Anadolu Agency.
Contact was lost with the plane which had been rented from Russia to help Turkey's efforts to contain a forest fire in Kahramanmaras, Governor Omer Faruk Coskun told Anadolu Agency.
A large number of search and rescue teams were dispatched to the region, added Coskun.
Speaking at a news conference in Kahramanmaras, Turkey's Forestry and Agriculture Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said, "I would like to express with regret that we lost eight of our colleagues, three of whom were Turkish nationals."
Pakdemirli added that technical investigations were ongoing and that further details would be given afterwards.
In a separate statement, the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed the Russian Be-200 amphibious plane crashed while landing following a firefighting mission.
All five Russian and three Turkish servicemen on board the plane were killed in the crash, the statement said.
A special commission of the Russian Defense Ministry, as well as the employees of the Russian Embassy in Turkey, are heading to the place for the investigation, it added.
The plane was sent to Turkey on July 8 to help Turkey fight the wildfires.
Be-200 is designed specifically for fighting fires, including in remote areas, it can carry 12 tons of water.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said he is "deeply saddened" by the loss of the Turkish and Russian crew in the tragic plane crash.
"Their heroic sacrifices will not be forgotten!," Cavusoglu added.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also offered his condolences to Turkey over the loss of lives in a telegram addressing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
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