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Rediff.com  » News » One pilot of downed Russian jet dead, fate of other not known

One pilot of downed Russian jet dead, fate of other not known

Last updated on: November 25, 2015 02:36 IST

Image: Turkey claims they shot the plane down as it was violating the country's airspace after the pilots ignored 'ten warnings in the space of five minutes', but Russia says the jet was in Syrian airspace.

One of the two pilots who ejected after Turkish pilots shot down their Russian war plane is believed to be dead. The fate of the other pilot was not immediately known.

 

The pilot was killed by fire from the ground after he ejected from the aircraft, sources from the Russian military said. Turkish authorities are seeking to recover them, according to government sources.

 

Turkey on Tuesday shot down a Russian warplane, the first time a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation country and Moscow have exchanged direct fire over the crisis in Syria. 

This video grab shows the plane crashing to the ground after being shot at by Turkish fighter jets.

Reacting angrily to the incident, Russian president Vladimir Putin said that the downing of the Russian jet was a stab in the back. "Shooting down of Russian jet will have "serious consequences" for Moscow's relations with Turkey," Putin reportedly said.

Meanwhile, the US military has backed up backed up Turkey's claim that its pilots had warned the Russian jet at least 10 times, but never got a response before shooting it down.  

"We were able to hear everything that was going on, these (communications) were on open channels," military spokesman Colonel Steve Warren told AFP.

Earlier, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the Kremlin considers it incorrect to talk about any consequences for Russian-Turkish relations after the incident with Russia's Sukhoi Su-24 warplane.

"It would be wrong now to give any assessments, assumptions or make any conclusions before we get a full picture," Peskov said in reply to a question about the prospects of relations between Moscow and Ankara.

Image: Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Sochi, Russia. Photograph: Maxim Shipenkov/Reuters

 

"We have to be patient, it is a very serious incident, but again, without all of the information it is impossible to say anything and it would be wrong," he said. 

The Russian defense ministry confirmed that one of its jets, a Sukhoi SU-24, had crashed in Syria but said it had been downed “presumably as a result of shelling from the ground.”

The Russian defense ministry also asserted that, “The plane stayed exclusively above the territory of Syria throughout the entire flight,” and said that the two pilots had ejected.

The Turkish military did not identify the nationality of the plane but said in a statement on its website that its pilots fired only after repeated warnings to the other warplane.

“The aircraft entered Turkish airspace over the town of Yaylidag, in the southeastern Hatay province,” the statement read. “The plane was warned 10 times in the space of 5 minutes before it was taken down.”

Footage from private Turkish broadcaster Haberturk TV showed the warplane going down in flames in a woodland area, a long plume of smoke trailing behind it.

Separate footage from Turkey’s Anadolu Agency showed two pilots parachuting out of the jet before it crashed. A Syrian rebel group sent a video that appeared to show one of the pilots immobile and badly wounded on the ground and an official from the group said he was dead.

 

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