Police helicopter crash kills 12 passengers in Turkey

A police helicopter flies over as a member of police special forces stands guard during the first hearing of the trial for Turkish soldiers accused of attempting to assassinate Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on the night of the failed last year’s July 15 coup, in Mugla, Turkey, Feb. 20, 2017.

Kenan Gurbuz, Reuters

ANKARA, Turkey -- A police helicopter carrying officers, a judge and a soldier crashed due to bad weather in a mountainous region of southeastern Turkey Tuesday, killing all 12 people on board, the country’s interior minister said.

Suleyman Soylu said search and rescue teams were sent to the area after the helicopter’s signal was lost. It took the rescue teams several hours to find the helicopter wreckage due to altitude, adverse weather conditions and low visibility.

It had been carrying seven police officers, a judge, a soldier and three crewmembers.

The helicopter disappeared 10 minutes after taking off from the town of Pulumur, in Tunceli province, the regional governor’s office said.

“It is being assessed that the helicopter crashed due to adverse weather conditions,” the governor’s office said in a statement.