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Russian firefighting plane battling wild blazes in Turkey crashes after dropping water on flames, killing all crew and passengers

Russian firefighting plane battling wild blazes in Turkey crashes after dropping water on flames, killing all crew and passengers
A Russian jet specially equipped to fight catastrophic wildfires has crashed into the side of a mountain in Turkey while assisting local teams, with officials in Moscow reporting that all eight people on board died in the wreck.

The Beriev Be-200 amphibious plane, which is capable of taking water from natural sources and releasing it over smoldering blazes, crashed in Turkey’s southern region of Marash on Saturday. According to Russia’s Ministry of Defense, the plane had five Russian servicemen and three Turkish officials on board.

Footage circulating online shows a plume of black smoke emitting from the crash site.

Another video shows the plane flying extremely low above the mountains, then disappearing from sight behind one of the peaks. Moments after, smoke starts to rise above it.

The plane crashed shortly after releasing water, another grainy video available online shows. The aircraft was apparently unable to gain sufficient altitude after dumping its load, and collided with a mountain.

So far, no information on the potential cause of the crash has emerged. The Russian military has already dispatched a team of investigators to Turkey to examine the site of the crash.

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Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has extended his condolences to the families of the victims, instructing the defense ministry to give posthumous awards to the Russian servicemen killed in the crash, the Kremlin press service has said.

A handful of firefighting aircraft have been sent to Turkey by Russia to assist the nation in its struggle with wildfires, which have plagued it in recent weeks. According to local media reports, the crashed Be-200 was attached to the Adana firefighting department.

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