Search teams retrieve dead body of İHA reporter

Search teams retrieve dead body of İHA reporter

İsmail Güneş

March 31, 2009, Tuesday/ 15:22:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN WITH WIRES
Search-and-rescue teams yesterday retrieved the dead body of İhlas News Agency (İHA) reporter İsmail Güneş, who had been missing since a helicopter crash last week that claimed the lives of six people, including Grand Unity Party (BBP) leader Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu.

Kahramanmaraş Gov. Mehmet Niyazi Tanılır announced yesterday that search-and-rescue teams had found the dead body of Güneş in a crevice between rocks, covered with snow. A helicopter carrying six people crashed in the southeastern province of Kahramanmaraş last Wednesday afternoon. The wreckage of the helicopter was found two days later by villagers between the districts of Sisne and Elmadağ. The remains of five of the passengers were retrieved from the wreckage and sent to their hometowns on Sunday. But, Güneş was reported missing, with search-and-rescue teams working to locate him until his body was found yesterday.

Güneş called the 112 emergency line shortly after the crash to inform first-response teams about the accident. Güneş stated during his conversation with a 112 operator that he had a broken leg and was very cold. "Can you still not find us? I am unable to walk because my leg is broken. ... We are about to freeze to death here. I think the others have already died," he said.

Gov. Tanılır, Necdet Çelikbilek, head of the city's police department, and Gendarmerie Commander Col. Sezai Akgün rushed to the site of the crash.

In the meantime, a memorial ceremony was held yesterday afternoon at the BBP building in Sivas, the hometown of three of the crash victims, Erhan Üstündağ, Yüksel Yancı and Murat Çetinkaya -- all BBP members. Relatives of the three victims shed tears during the ceremony, and streets in the city were filled with banners that read: "May you rest in peace. We will not forget you."

Üstündağ, Yancı and Çetinkaya were buried at Yukarıtekke Cemetery after funeral prayers were performed at the Meydan Mosque.

The pilot of the helicopter, Mustafa Kaya İstektepe, was buried in İstanbul yesterday at Hoşdere Cemetery. İstanbul Gov. Muammer Güler said the helicopter accident had plunged the whole nation into grief.

BBP leader Yazıcıoğlu is expected to be buried in Ankara today, following funeral prayers at Kocatepe Mosque.

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