Helicopter crashes on outskirts of Istanbul; 7 killed

Seven people, including four Russian nationals visiting Turkey, were killed when a helicopter crashed in an Istanbul suburb on Friday. Two pilots were on board, as well as two company executives, one Turkish and the other Russian, Eczacibasi said.

At 11:16 on Friday, a helicopter belonging to a local transport company took off from Ataturk airport and "at 11:20 it collided with a TV tower and fell on the E-5 highway", the ministry said.

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Vasip Sahin, the governor of Istanbul, said the cause of the crash is under investigation.

Turkish media images showed the helicopter in pieces and thick black smoke as rescue teams continued their search in Buyukcekmece, a western district of Istanbul.

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A nearby highway was closed after it was littered with debris from the crash. Its driver escaped unhurt but in shock, according to the news agency. Bulent Eczacibasi, who heads the company, told reporters near the scene that the Russians on board the helicopter were clients who had been invited to visit a ceramics fair.

The tower, which is no longer used for transmitting television signals but has a restaurant at the top, didn't appear to be damaged.

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