Authorities say a NATO helicopter crashed into a house on the outskirts of the Afghan capital, Kabul, Friday, killing 12 Turkish soldiers onboard and at least four civilians on the ground.
According to Turkey’s general staff, the Sikorsky helicopter was on a mission as part of the NATO force in Afghanistan when it crashed in the Bagrami district of Kabul province.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the aircraft went down while trying to make an emergency landing and that the pilot tried to avoid houses.
Davutoglu told reporters, “it is a grave accident, our grief is deep.”
Reuters writes that wreckage including body parts and corpses littered the site, as relief workers and Turkish soldiers covered bodies with red and purple blankets on a ground in front of a smoking hole in the house.
Two women and two children were among those killed when the helicopter crashed into the house, an Afghan police officer said, adding it appeared to be a technical failure.
NATO said the cause of the crash is being investigated and that initial reporting indicates there was no enemy activity in the area at the time of the incident.
It was the deadliest coalition helicopter crash in Afghanistan since last August when a Chinook helicopter was apparently shot down by militants in Wardak province, killing 30 Americans troops.
Turkey has some 1,800 troops in Afghanistan as part of the NATO force. Turkey’s mission is limited to patrols and its troops do not take part in combat operations.
Raw footage of the aftermath of the NATO helicopter crash can be seen in the video below: