The first official report since last week's helicopter crash which claimed the lives of eleven soldiers has revealed that a sudden turn for the worse in weather likely caused the incident. The report, prepared by a crew of investigators, was unveiled on Monday by the Ministry of National Defense.
It says that the Cougar model helicopter found itself in a cloud mass some five minutes after it last made contact with ground control, prompting the pilots to make the decision to return to their takeoff location shortly before the crash occurred in the eastern province of Bitlis.
Investigators said that they did not find any evidence of foul play and noted that the helicopter had undergone proper maintenance and was fit to fly. “There was no external factor other than weather conditions (to cause the crash),” the report concluded.
The helicopter was carrying a delegation of military officers, including Lt. Gen. Osman Erbaş, who was flying to a military garrison for a routine inspection of units, when the aircraft crashed in Bitlis’ Tatvan district on March 4.
The ministry said in a statement that the investigators analyzed voice recordings found at the site of the crash to determine the cause of the incident. The statement said that the weather was suitable for flights on the morning of March 4 and that the journey was going smoothly up until the helicopter reached Tatvan and suddenly found itself in a bad spell of weather that had emerged in the region.