Turkish F16 crashes in Diyarbakir
DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Kurdistan24) - A Turkish F16 warplane crashed in the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir on Monday evening, reported a Kurdistan24 correspondent there.
The incident happened near the Turkish Air Force's 8th Main Jet Base at the Diyarbakir Airport.
Search and rescue team and ambulances rushed to the scene close to the Diyarbakir-Mardin highway, added the reporter.
A witness from the village of Yesildere (Paluke) near the city center told Kurdistan24 TV that he heard a big explosion while sitting at home and called the police immediately thinking it was a bomb.
Police and military helicopters were roaming above the village where the crash site was, as security forces cordoned off the area where smoke was still rising from the plane which was bomb-loaded.
[The warplane that crashed near Diyarbakir. Photo: Hurriyet]
Private-owned Dogan news agency said the pilot who was on a training flight was ejected from the cockpit before the crash and landed alive.
Warplanes used for daily bombing runs on Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) targets in mountainous areas usually take off from the same airport also used for civilian purposes.
A passenger airplane flying from Istanbul to Diyarbakir was diverted to the city of Elazig some 150 kilometers (93 miles) northwest.
Turkish General Staff confirmed the crash in a statement published by the government-run Anadolu Agency, adding the pilot was in good health with no injuries.
The army said the warplane was about two miles away from a runway when an unknown cause led to its crash which was still under investigation.
Editing by Ava Homa
(Siddiq Eren and Hesen Kako in Diyarbakir contributed to this report.)