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Firefighting plane crashes in Turkey with at least eight on board

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By Euronews  with AP
File photo of a plane pouring water over a fire-devastating village, near Manavgat, Antalya, Turkey
File photo of a plane pouring water over a fire-devastating village, near Manavgat, Antalya, Turkey   -   Copyright  AP

A firefighting plane that was rented from Russia crashed on Saturday in a mountainous area in southern Turkey, state media reported.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the amphibious Beriev BE-200 crashed while trying to land in Adana province.

It said the plane was carrying five Russian army personnel and three Turkish officers.

There was no immediate word on the fate of the crew or the reason for the crash. A team was dispatched to investigate the accident.

The Anadolu news agency said the plane was linked to the Turkish General Directory of Forestry. Search and rescue teams were sent to the area in neighboring Kahramanmaras where the fire and crash were first reported.

Anadolu said the plane had previously fought fires in Antalya province.

Kahramanmaras governor Omer Faruk Coskun told Anadolu that a wildfire had begun after lightning struck trees.

“We had dispatched a plane to the area but we lost communication with the plane a while ago and it crashed. The situation is very new. We dispatched many units to the area where the plane crashed,” he said.

Wildfires in Turkey's Mediterranean region began in late July and have incinerated thousands of acres of forests, mostly in the seaside provinces of Mugla and Antalya. Turkey's forestry minister, Bekir Pakdemirli, said on Thursday that 299 fires had been brought under control over 16 days by firefighters, helicopters and planes.

Eight people have died in the wildfires, which came after Turkey and the whole Mediterranean region endured a prolonged heat wave.

Climate scientists say there is little doubt climate change from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas is driving more extreme events, such as heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods and storms.

Anadolu said the plane that crashed had also fought fires in Antalya.