Seven People Killed in Helicopter Crash in Italy

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

Col. Alfonso Cipriano who is in charge of the air force rescue coordination unit, reported that rescuers were tipped off to the crash scene after a mountain runner claimed he saw what he thought to be a piece of the mangled helicopter during an excursion at Mount Cusna.

Cipriano reported that air crews confirmed the spot and ground crews located the bodies first, five, then two more. According to Cipriano, the site was located in an obscure valley. The chopper’s remains were concealed from rescuers due to the thick tree cover. But some branches were cut and burned.

The helicopter disappeared from radar screens Thursday morning as it flew over the province of Modena in the Tuscan–Emilian Apennines. It carried seven people including two Lebanese pilots and four Turkish citizens.

In Lebanon, the two Lebanese identified themselves as Shadi Creidi, and Tarek Tayah. They were both executives of INDEVCO (an international consulting and manufacturing company). According to reports, the two men were on business.

Tayah’s wife, Hala, was killed two years ago in the massive explosion at Beirut’s port, which took the lives of more than 215 people and injured thousands. Tamara, their 11-year old daughter at the time was among the victims of the explosion. He flew from Paris to Beirut after the blast and presented him with a pendant shaped in the shape of the Lebanon map. They also exchanged an emotional hug.

Tarek Tayeh was also a father to Hala Tayeh, who had Tamara as well.

Turkish industrial group Eczacibasi said that they had sent the Turks to participate in a trade show.

Eczacibasi confirmed in a statement with “great pain and sadness” that its director of factories, director of hygienic papers at its Yalova province factory, director of investment projects and production director at its Manisa province factory had died in the crash and relayed their condolences.

The crash site was about 10 kilometers (six miles) from where rescuers initially began searching based on the last cellular pings from the passengers’ phones. Cipriano said it might have taken hours more or even days to locate the site had it not been for the runner’s tip, given the difficult, lush terrain.

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