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Turkish warplane delivers body of pilot of downed Su-24M bomber to Ankara

November 29, 2015, 17:50 UTC+3 ANKARA
A military plane of the Turkish Air Force landed at the Etimesgut Air Base near Ankara
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© EPA/STR

ANKARA, November 29. /TASS/. The body of Lt Col Oleg Peshkov, the pilot of the SU-24M bomber downed by the Turkish Air Force in Syrian airspace on November 24 has been delivered to Ankara, the NTV channel said.

A military plane of the Turkish Air Force landed at the Etimesgut Air Base near Ankara. Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov and diplomats from the Russian embassy came to the base to take part in the handover of the pilot’s body to the Russian side.

"The date and time of delivery of the pilot to Russia will be specified later," Igor Mityakov, the press attache of the Russian Embassy said.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporter on Sunday morning the Turkish side had received the body or the Russian pilot and preparing it for the handover procedures.

"The body of the Russian pilot who died in the border violation incident has been handed over to us," he said. "Overnight to Sunday, the appropriate religious rituals were performed with the assistance from the Orthodox Christian priests based in the Hatay province."

"At Russia’s request, the body will be handed to the Russian side," Davutoglu said.

An F-16 fighter jet of the Turkish Air Force brought the Su-24M bomber down in the morning of Tuesday, November 24. Turkish defence officials claimed the Russian crew had intruded into Turkish airspace in the area of the Syrian-Turkish land-surface border.

The Russian Defense Ministry says the Su-24M was flying over the Syrian territory and there was now intrusion in Turkish airspace.

The crew - Lt Col Oleg Peshkov and Capt Konstantin Murakhtin managed to eject themselves from the aircraft but Lt Col Peshkov was killed in midair by gunfire opened by militants from among the ethnic Turkomans.

Capt Murakhtin was rescued and taken to the Russian airbase at Humeymin, Latakia province.

The search and rescue operation involved two Mi-8 helicopters. One of them was damaged by gunfire and made a forced landing. A contract marine serviceman died in the incident while the rest of the search party was evacuated to a safe place.

The damaged helicopter was destroyed later by mortar fire from a land area controlled by militants.

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