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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 13 November 2018

Emotions run high at funerals of Sharjah-Istanbul plane crash victims in Turkey 

Mina Basaran, her seven friends and three crew were killed following a hen party trip to Dubai when their flight crashed in Iran

The funerals of the victims of Sunday’s tragic private plane crash in south-west Iran, which killed eight passengers and three crew members, took place in Turkey today, attended by crowds of emotional mourners.

The 11 women were killed when a flight from Sharjah to Istanbul crashed in the Zagros Mountains; however, a cause is yet to be discovered.

The passengers had been in Dubai to celebrate the upcoming marriage of weathy business heir Mina Basaran, 28, who was in line to take over her father’s company Basaran Holdings.

On Wednesday, 10 bodies that were recovered from the crash site were flown back to Turkey. The 11th body, the plane’s pilot Beril Gebes, was still missing, according to Iranian media.

The bodies were later transferred to the coroner's office for an autopsy.

The aunt of Mina Basaran. AFP
The aunt of Mina Basaran. AFP

The dead included seven of Ms Basaran’s closest friends, Liana Hananel, Zeynep Coskun, Yasmin Baruh Siloni, Asli Izmirli, Ayse And, Sinem Akay and Burcu Urfali, and three crew members, pilot Beril Gebes, co-pilot Melike Kuvvet and cabin attendant Eda Uslu.

Murat Gezer, the print shop owner due to marry Ms Basaran on April 14, carried her coffin, clad in a cloth of green and gold, and loaded it onto the funeral car to be sent to a ceremony at Atakoy mosque in Istanbul.

According to Turkish media reports, Mr Gezer was sedated following the news of her death and said often "I do not believe it. Mina will come".

According to images circulating on social media, he and the Basaran family also published an emotional death notice newsletter. Along with Ms Basaran's picture were the words, "My little angel, I love you very much. Wait for me," and requests to donate money to an armed forces charity instead of sending flowers.

Ms Basaran's father, Huseyin Basaran, and her aunt were unable to hold back the tears as they approached the coffin, laid out with pink and purple flowers, amid crowds of sympathetic mourners.

“There are hundreds of these [aircraft] in the world,” Mr Basaran is reported to have said following the accident. “Why ours? Why us?”

Relatives carry the coffin of Mina Basaran. AFP
Relatives carry the coffin of Mina Basaran. AFP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan telephoned Mr Basaran to offer his condolences, according to state-run news agency Anadolu.

The bodies of her friends, Ms Urfali and Ms Akay, were also brought to the same mosque.

Ms Urfali worked in fashion, launching her own brand, Bug Uniform, in 2015 to make corporate outfits, while Ms Akay, 27, was the daughter of Cetin Akay, the former owner of Mavi Jeans, a popular brand in Turkey.

Mourners also gathered on Thursday at Arnavutkoy Jewish cemetery in Istanbul for the funeral of Ms Hananel, the founder of luxury swimwear brand Lily and Rose. She had given birth just four months earlier.

Sinan Urfali, left, husband of Burcu Gundogar Urfali, mourns next to his wife's coffin. AFP
Sinan Urfali, left, husband of Burcu Gundogar Urfali, mourns next to his wife's coffin. AFP

Jewellery designer Ms Siloni's friends and family attended Eskanazi Jewish cemetery in the Ulus district of Istanbul.

Ms Urfali and Ms Siloni had been pregnant at the time of the accident.

The body of Ms Izmirli, also a jewellery designer, was taken by her Lebanese fiancé Bassam Houssami to Zincirlikuyu Cemetery, accompanied by her tearful mother and friends.

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Read more:

Who was Mina Basaran, the Turkish bride whose private Sharjah-Istanbul plane crashed?

'Allah took her early to be with him': Family mourn Sharjah-Istanbul plane crash victims

Bombardier 604: Sharjah crash private jet model has relatively strong safety record

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Co-pilot Ms Kuvvet’s funeral took place in her hometown of Konya, her coffin wrapped in a Turkish flag and draped in her military pilot’s uniform.

Investigators recovered the “black box” flight data recorder on Monday. The device will give an indication of the cause of the crash, which witnesses said was preceded by a fire on the plane.

The group had recorded their trip to Dubai on social media. The last post on Ms Basaran's account showed the party crowded together in bathrobes at Dubai’s One and Only Royal Mirage hotel.