On August 14th, a Russian Beriev Be-200 amphibious aerial firefighter crashed during its deployment in Turkey. The incident took the lives of all eight people onboard. The aircraft was sent to assist with Turkey’s wildfire crisis, which has been ongoing since July.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of the crew of the Russian plane, which was crashed while he was on duty to support the fire extinguishing efforts in Kahramanmaraş. We offer our condolences and patience to the Russian people and the Turkish nation.” – Turkish Ministry of National Defence via Twitter
Russian and Turkish nationals killed
According to CNN, the August 14th crash of the Be-200 took the lives of all eight people onboard- five of which were Russian crew members, with the other three being Turkish nationals.
Belonging to the Russian Navy, the aircraft reportedly crashed into high terrain near the city of Kahramanmaras as it was preparing to land in the south-central Turkish city of Adana. CNN also notes that a commission from the Russian Defense Ministry has been dispatched to the site of the crash to investigate the accident and determine its cause.
Turkish state-run media outlet Anadolu Agency also notes that Turkey’s Ministry of National Defense reports having dispatched a helicopter from Incirlik, and a plane from Konya, to support the search and rescue efforts.
“The plane turned in the air…We thought it would go, [but] it turned again. The plane landed very low, then went up again and dropped water…It crashed into the mountain, Then there was the explosion. The friends ran away, and we followed behind.” -Yemliha Bektur, eyewitness via Anadolu Agency
In the absence of proper translation from Turkish, it also appears that the eyewitness described the aircraft stalling, “lifting the nose of the plane into the air, but unable to recover.”
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What we know about the aircraft
According to The Aviationist, the aircraft that crashed was registered as RF-88450 with MSN 64620090311. The Aviation Safety Network reports that this is a fairly new aircraft, taking its first flight on February 14th, 2020. With its distinct black livery and a red star on its tail, this particular Be-200 belongs to the Russian Navy.
Unfortunately, not much more is known about the aircraft’s flight history, with flight tracking services only providing a partial flight path for August 13th, the day before the incident.
According to Hürriyet Daily News, Turkey’s Agriculture and Forestry Minister declared on Thursday that all wildfires across the country were contained. At the same time, the minister emphasized that 12 planes, 66 helicopters, 10 helicopters of the gendarmerie forces, and 26 foreign aircraft were all on alert to respond to any possible fires that may erupt.
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