Sunday 26 March 2017

British experts examining black box from downed Russian warplane

Russian generals talk as an image of the flight data recorder from the Russian warplane is displayed on a screen in the background (AP)
Russian generals talk as an image of the flight data recorder from the Russian warplane is displayed on a screen in the background (AP)

British and Chinese experts have watched as Russian military officials opened the black box of a Russian warplane downed by a Turkish fighter jet last month.

Turkey shot down the Russian Su-24 on a bombing mission in Syria on November 24 after it apparently violated Turkish air space for 17 seconds. Russia insists the plane never entered Turkish air space.

The incident, in which one pilot and a Russian marine with the rescue party were killed, strained the traditionally warm relations between Russia and Turkey, and Moscow promptly slapped economic sanctions on Ankara.

Russian Air Force Lieutenant General Sergei Dronov told reporters that Moscow had invited 14 countries to send experts to examine the Su-24's flight data recorder, which was recovered by Russian and Syrian forces from the area in rebel-controlled northern Syria where the plane was shot down.

Only British and Chinese experts agreed to examine the data.

Russia has insisted that the data from the black box should prove the bomber did not violate Turkish air space.

Russian television aired an hour-long live broadcast from the lab as Russian engineers unsealed then opened several layers of the data recorder with British and Chinese experts looking on.

British, Chinese and Indian military attaches watched alongside journalists from nearby over a live TV link.

Lt Gen Dronov said the data from the recorder will be released on Monday.

President Vladimir Putin on Thursday lashed out at Turkey for the downing, saying it is now "practically impossible" to overcome tensions with Turkey.

Press Association

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