Removed devices for ‘curiosity,’ soldiers say in copter crash testimony

Two soldiers arrested in the investigation into the death of the leader of the Great Union Party, or BBP, say they removed flight-recording devices from the helicopter crash site ‘out of curiosity,’ not on orders, according to their testimonies
Soldiers alleged of removing flight record devices from the crashed helicopter are seen in this video grab. Hürriyet Photo.

Soldiers alleged of removing flight record devices from the crashed helicopter are seen in this video grab. Hürriyet Photo.

Two active-duty soldiers arrested Sunday in the investigation into the 2009 helicopter crash that killed the leader of the Great Union Party, or BBP, removed flight-recording devices from the wreckage “out of curiosity,” according to their testimonies.

The soldiers, who were among seven suspects arrested Sunday in connection with the alleged disappearance of devices containing flight information about BBP leader Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu’s helicopter, are alleged to be the ones responsible for dismantling the devices and removing them from the helicopter.

The soldiers said in their testimony that they received no orders to dismantle the devices, and that they did it “simply out of curiosity.”

The investigators who were first on the scene to prepare the crash report were also criticized for having neglected the issue of missing devices in their report. Despite their claims of the possibility of the devices being pulled out afterward, photos of the crash site show that the devices were in place before the report was completed.

The helicopter carrying Yazıcıoğlu had crashed in a mountainous region in central Turkey while he was traveling from an election rally on March 25, 2009. All passengers were found dead when the wreckage was located 47 hours later, including journalist İsmail Güneş, who called for help before succumbing to injuries he sustained in the accident.

The delay in reaching the wreckage had caused uproar in some circles, leading to allegations that Yazıcıoğlu had been deliberately left to die.

Monday, October 3, 2011
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet