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MOSCOW, March 10. /TASS/. All the seven passengers aboard a helicopter that crashed near Istanbul died, Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas said on Friday.
"A helicopter crashed. Seven people, including two pilots, died," the mayor said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Erdogan has conveyed condolences over Russian citizens’ deaths.
Previous reports said that five persons, including four Russians, died in the helicopter crash. Some reports said the pilots had survived and were hospitalized.
A private helicopter was taken on lease by Eczacibasi Grup to meet clients and an employee at the airport and bring them to the company’s factory in the neighboring province.
Chairman of the Board of Directors of Eczacibasi Grup Bulent Eczacibasi confirmed that Salim Ozen, the CEO of the group’s Russian branch, Vitra Russia, had been killed in the helicopter crash near Istanbul.
"The head of our company in Russia, and also four our clients from Russia - the guests who had arrived at our place - were aboard the helicopter. As far as I know, the helicopter was carrying passengers from Ataturk airport to our enterprise in Bozuyuk [Bilecik province]," he said.
The company also gave the names of the other victims - Russian nationals Alexander Vanin, Igor Kochergin, Lyudmila Chuprova and Yelena Badragan.
The helicopter crashed after hitting a TV tower, Turkey’s Transport Ministry reported.
At 11:16 on Friday, a helicopter belonging to a local transport company took off from Ataturk airport and "at 11:20 it collided with a TV tower and fell on the E-5 highway," the ministry said.
Eczacibasi Grup is a group of 49 companies operating in the spheres of activity ranging from the production of building materials to medicinal preparations and consumer goods. The Group’s units also operate in the sphere of information technologies, the mining industry and on the real estate market. Vitra Russia is the holding company’s Russian unit supplying equipment for bathrooms and ceramic tiles to Russia’s market.