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Bad Tuesday for Black Hawks: two helicopters crashed, in Turkey and Yemen. 24 deads

Rome, Italy - An aircraft fell because of poor weather conditions, the other one crashed after being hit by "friendly fire"

Yesterday was a day to forget for helicopter transport: two Sikorsky aircraft crashed for different reasons, causing the death of 24 people. The first accident happened in Turkey. A Sikorsky S-70A Black Hawk that had taken-off from Tunceli -administrative center of the same name province in middle-eastern Turkey- and then had stopped in the districts of Nazimiye and Pulumur to board other passengers, crashed in a mountainous region while it was flying to the Ovacik district. Weather conditions were very poor. The last signal from the aircraft -used by Turkish police- came yesterday at 11:43 am (local time) about ten minutes after leaving Pulumur. Twelve people were on board: three crew members, a judge, seven police officials and a sergeant who had followed the constitutional referendum that took place in Turkey on April 16. According to the Turkish Minister of the Interior Süleyman Soylu the accident was caused by nothing else than the very poor bad weather conditions. A military unit and different search and reascue teams from the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) were dispatched, but the altitude of the location, storms and fog made the operations very difficult. Rescuers took more than two and a half hours to get to the debris of the aircraft. There were no survivors. Always yesterday morning another Sikorsky helicopter -model UH-60L Black Hawk- belonging to the Armed Forces of Saudi Arabia was hit by "friendly fire" in Yemen and crashed to the ground. The news was reported by the Saudi-led military coalition that is fighting Huthis in the Yemenite civil war. Twelve of the thirteen people who were on board died in the accident. It happened in the province of Marib, at East of the capital of Yemen Sana'a. According to local press the accident was caused by a miscommunication between the helicopter and the defence systems that intervened and shot it down by a suface to air Pantsir S1 missile, hypothesis that for Saudi authorities is premature.

AVIONEWS - 1203858

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