The plane crashed at an altitude of 2,200 metres on Mount Artos, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told reporters.

At least seven police officers have died after their reconnaissance plane crashed in a mountain in eastern Turkey.

“Our teams have informed us that we have lost seven heroes, two of them are the pilots,” Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told reporters in the Van province on Thursday.

The plane crashed at an altitude of 2,200 metres on Mount Artos in Van late on Wednesday.

The aircraft took off from Van Ferit Melen Airport at 1535 GMT.

The 2015 model-plane was missioned for reconnaissance and surveillance in Van and Hakkari provinces since Monday, the interior minister said.

He said the pilots contacted the tower for the last time when they were around the Baskale district at 1932 GMT.

At around 1945 GMT, radar and communication were completely lost, he added.

Soylu later arrived in the region where the plane crashed.

Turkey’s Communications Director Fahrettin Altun offered condolences for the security personnel from his Twitter account. 

According to the General Directorate of Security, the names of the martyrs are as follows:

Police superintendent Gokhun Mete Altunbas, sub-inspector Samet Ustuner, sub-inspector Irfan Aydogan, sub-inspector Semih Guzelay, police officer Mustafa Keskin, police officer Onur Ramazan Bayram and police officer Burak Derya.

Altunbas and Ustuner were the pilots of the plane, while Keskin was the flight technician.