Six Dead in Turkey Helicopter Crash

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - All six people aboard a helicopter that
crashed on a Turkish mountaintop have been found dead, the
government said Friday, including the leader of a small political
party and a passenger whose anguished phone call from the crash
site was broadcast around the country.

Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin, citing rescue workers, said
the wreckage was found on the third day of a search that had been
hampered by snowfall and fog.

The death of Muhsin Yazicioglu, leader of the conservative Great
Unity Party, shocked his supporters before Sunday's local
elections.

"May his soul rest in peace. I am expressing my condolences to
all his family members and the community," Sahin said.

Yazicioglu's helicopter crashed Wednesday in bad weather after
leaving an election rally in southern Kahramanmaras province. All
political parties suspended pre-election campaigning after the
crash.

At least 2,000 soldiers, villagers and other rescue workers had
been searching for the helicopter since injured passenger Ismail
Gunes phoned an emergency hot line with his cell phone and begged
for rescue.

The journalist's call was broadcast nationwide Thursday. A
cameraman for Turkish news agency IHA, Gunes had said he was wedged in the wreckage with a badly broken foot and was freezing. He had said some of the other passengers appeared to be dead, and that his cell phone battery was running out.

The military dispatched units to the site to bring down the
bodies but nightfall and snowstorms were reportedly hampering the
effort.

Hundreds of party supporters, some weeping, gathered outside the
party headquarters.

Prosecutors were trying to reach the site on foot to officially
identify Yazicioglu and other victims, said Sahin.

Yazicioglu was a leader of the far-right nationalist movement in
Turkey since 1970s. His small party was not expected to make a
strong showing in the polls.


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