Seven people killed in helicopter crash in Italy

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(ROME) – Italian rescuers on Saturday found the bodies of seven people, including four Turkish businessmen and two Lebanese, who died when their helicopter crashed in a densely forested mountainous area in north-central Italy. Italy during a storm, authorities said.

Colonel Alfonso Cipriano, who heads an Air Force rescue coordination unit that has been leading the search since Thursday, said rescuers were notified of the crash site after a mountain runner reported seeing what he thought was part of the mangled helicopter while on an excursion to Mount Cusna on Saturday morning.

Aircrews confirmed the site and ground crews initially located five bodies and then the other two, Cipriano told The Associated Press. The location was in a hard-to-reach valley and the remains of the helicopter were hidden from aerial rescuers by lush vegetation, but some branches were broken and burned, he said.

The helicopter disappeared from radar screens on Thursday morning as it flew over the province of Modena in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines. It was carrying seven people, including four Turkish citizens, two Lebanese and the Italian pilot, from Lucca to Treviso to visit a tissue paper production plant.

The two Lebanese were identified in Lebanon as Shadi Kreidi and Tarek Tayah, both executives at INDEVCO, an international manufacturing and industry consultancy group. The two men would be on a business trip.

Tayah’s wife, Hala, was killed two years ago in the massive Beirut port explosion that claimed more than 215 lives and injured thousands. Their daughter, Tamara, who was 11 at the time, was one of the few victims to meet French President Emmanuel Macron when he flew to Beirut after the explosion, giving her a pendant in the shape of a map of Lebanon made by his mother, a jeweler. , and receive an emotional hug in return.

Tarek and Hala Tayeh had two other children besides Tamara.

The Turks on board worked for the Turkish industrial group Eczacibasi, which said it was participating in a trade fair.

Eczacibasi confirmed in a statement with “great pain and sadness” that its Plants Manager, Toilet Papers Manager at its Yalova Province plant, Investment Projects Manager and Production Manager at its Yalova Province plant Manisa had died in the accident and conveyed their condolences.

The crash site was about 10 kilometers (six miles) from where rescuers began searching based on the latest cellular pings from passengers’ phones. Cipriano said it might have taken hours or even days longer to locate the site if it weren’t for the runner’s tip, given the difficult and lush terrain.

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