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4 Russians among 7 killed in Istanbul helicopter crash (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

4 Russians among 7 killed in Istanbul helicopter crash (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)
Seven people, including four Russians, have died after a helicopter crashed into a television tower in Istanbul in dense fog. The seven on board comprised two pilots, four foreign nationals and a Turkish citizen.

An emergency center for Russians abroad confirmed five of the deaths in a tweet earlier on Friday.

Mayor of Istanbul Kadir Topbas announced the updated on death toll, reported AP, saying all seven on board had died.

Photographs taken at the scene show flaming debris scattered on the road at the crash site in Buyukcekmece, on the outskirts of Istanbul.

“It hit the tower and crashed by spinning,” an eyewitness told AP, claiming the helicopter hit the tower before crashing on the highway.

Video from the crash site suggests that the helicopter collided with the Endem TV Tower. The structure is 236 meters (774ft) high with a viewing platform at 160 meters.

The helicopter is reported to be a privately owned Sikorsky S-76 which crashed after taking off from Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport. According to local reports, it was en route to Bozüyük, a district in the northwestern province of Bilecik.

Eczacibasi, the Turkish firm which owns the helicopter, has said that four Russians were on board.

Lockheed Martin, which manufactures Sikorsky helicopters, issued a statement Wednesday that the S-76 fleet had recently passed a milestone 7 million hours of flight time globally.

Meanwhile, in January the entire fleet of Sikorsky S-92s was grounded following an accident on a North Sea platform in which a helicopter spun out of control on a helideck.

READ MORE: Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky grounds all S-92 helicopters following accident