ISTANBUL (AP) — Underwater teams are trying to recover a helicopter that crashed in a lake over the weekend, killing three crew members, while fighting a forest fire in western Turkey, state media reported Monday.
Four crew members were aboard the firefighting aircraft when it fell into the waters of the Tahtali dam while battling a blaze in Izmir’s Menderes district.
One pilot, a national of Kyrgyzstan, swam to safety following the accident late Saturday. The bodies of three other crew members – a Turk and two Kyrgyz personnel – had been found underwater, according to state-run Anadolu news agency.
The recovery resumed Monday following Sunday’s unsuccessful efforts, Anadolu said. The night vision-equipped helicopter, which was collecting water to drop on the flames when it crashed, is reported to be stuck in mud 12 meters (36 feet) below the surface.
The fire was extinguished Sunday. Summer wildfires are common in Turkey, where dry vegetation and high temperatures and winds create ideal conditions for deadly blazes.