Turkish Helicopter Crashes Into House in Afghanistan

12 soldiers on board died, and 2 girls on ground

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Mar 16, 2012 11:10 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Turkish military helicopter crashed into a house near the Afghan capital today, killing 12 Turkish soldiers on board and two girls on the ground, Turkish and Afghan officials say. It was by far the deadliest incident involving Turkish soldiers in Afghanistan, where they have a noncombat role. The helicopter, a Sikorsky, was on a mission for US-led NATO forces when it went down near Kabul, the Turkish military says in a statement.

There was no enemy activity in the area at the time of the crash, NATO says. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the helicopter was one of two that took off today. "Unfortunately, the one in front came down for an unknown reason," he said, adding that there were officers and noncommissioned officers on board. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters it appeared that the helicopter crashed while trying to make an emergency landing and that the pilot tried to avoid houses.

An Afghan policeman looks down from a top of a building at the scene where a Turkish helicopter crashed on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, March 16, 2012.
An Afghan policeman looks down from a top of a building at the scene where a Turkish helicopter crashed on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, March 16, 2012.   (Musadeq Sadeq)
Afghans look at the scene where a Turkish helicopter crashed on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, March 16, 2012.
Afghans look at the scene where a Turkish helicopter crashed on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, March 16, 2012.   (Musadeq Sadeq)
Turkish soldiers, part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) walk near the scene where a Turkish helicopter crashed on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, March 16, 2012.
Turkish soldiers, part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) walk near the scene where a Turkish helicopter crashed on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, March 16, 2012.   (Musadeq Sadeq)
An Afghan Army medic soldier carries a body from the scene where a Turkish helicopter crashed on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, March 16, 2012.
An Afghan Army medic soldier carries a body from the scene where a Turkish helicopter crashed on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, March 16, 2012.   (Musadeq Sadeq)
An Afghan policeman looks at the wreckage of a crashed Turkish helicopter on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, March 16, 2012.
An Afghan policeman looks at the wreckage of a crashed Turkish helicopter on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, March 16, 2012.   (Musadeq Sadeq)
Wreckage from a crashed Turkish helicopter is loaded into a truck at the crash site on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, March 16, 2012.
Wreckage from a crashed Turkish helicopter is loaded into a truck at the crash site on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, March 16, 2012.   (Musadeq Sadeq)
An Afghan policeman, left, gestures as he recounts a Turkish helicopter crash to others, unseen, near the wreckages of the helicopter on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, March 16, 2012.
An Afghan policeman, left, gestures as he recounts a Turkish helicopter crash to others, unseen, near the wreckages of the helicopter on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, March 16, 2012.   (Musadeq Sadeq)
Wreckage from a Turkish helicopter, left, is loaded into a truck at the scene of a crash on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, March 16, 2012.
Wreckage from a Turkish helicopter, left, is loaded into a truck at the scene of a crash on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, March 16, 2012.   (Musadeq Sadeq)
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