INTERNATIONAL > Bodies of Turkish pilots recovered from seabed

ANKARA - The Associated Press

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Turkish Armed Forces photo

Turkish Armed Forces photo

The bodies of two Turkish pilots were recovered from the seabed today after U.S. ocean explorer Robert Ballard, best known for discovering the wreck of the Titanic, helped locate them nearly two weeks after their jet was shot down by Syria.

A Turkish official said Ballard, aboard his deep-sea exploration vessel R/V Nautilus, found the bodies Wednesday 8.6 nautical miles off the Syrian coast after the Turkish navy had pinpointed the area. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

Turkey’s military said in a statement on its website that the bodies were taken to the base in the southern city of Malatya where their plane had originally taken off. It did not say how and by whom the bodies were recovered. A funeral ceremony was scheduled for Friday.

The military said the R/V Nautilus is continuing to search for more pieces of the plane’s wreckage.

Syrian forces shot down the RF-4 plane June 22. Turkey says it was hit in international airspace, but Syria insists it was flying low inside Syrian airspace.

Syria did not offer an apology for the downing of the jet which further strained ties between the two neighbors. Turkey quickly deployed anti-aircraft missiles on the border and threatened to target Syrian military elements if they approach. It also had its jets scrambled several times over the past week when Syrian helicopters came close.

Ballard led the international team that discovered the RMS Titanic in 1985, and also found the wrecks of the battleship Bismarck and the World War II PT-109 torpedo patrol boat that John F. Kennedy commanded.

Turkey has long been calling on Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down and order his forces to stop targeting civilians. More than 35,000 Syrians, including many Syrian officers, have fled to Turkey.


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7/6/2012 1:05:27 PM

MV Nautilus has left the search area and is heading direction Bodrum. So all the parts of the plane and the bodies from the pilots (save their souls) have being discovered and lifted to the surface.

ilker avni

7/5/2012 8:57:55 PM

This is a act of war and should be revenged,otherwise Turkey will be shown to be weak. Question whywas the two jets unarmed?.

Geoff Estry

7/5/2012 5:41:54 PM

I would like to thank everyone here on their comments. I am from Australia but I feel I am a Turk as I have been here nearly 10 years now and I am very proud of being one. Regardless of all this my condolences are with the brave Turkish Pilots Families who risk their lives for our beautiful Turkey. I will not be drawn into a political scenario over Syria this I will leave to our politicians silly or not .

Tayyar Abi

7/5/2012 4:49:00 PM

@mistique holland. I'm with you on this one. The fact that it crossed into Syria is immaterial. This happens all the time around the world Standard practice is to give warning first. All the rest of this jibber jabber is just anti Turkish, pro butcher nomsense.

Emanuel Zahra

7/5/2012 4:33:39 PM

My sincere condolence goes to their family and relatives....

Aliriza Bolat

7/5/2012 4:29:40 PM

The syrians had every right to shoot the jet down. Russians have told the Turks they no what happend the Turkx also no ecxactly what us going on . It is all a plot to hit the Syrians I feel sorry for the Turkish soldiers there fare was sealed before they took of by Erdogan and the west, it's all s game Jews and thr USA will start world war 3 soon.

mistique holland

7/5/2012 4:29:35 PM

Does it matter where the bodies were found???Why this fingerpointing towards Turkey. Those two man lost their lives and will be missed by there families forever and ever. Even if they were flying over Syria, there was no need to shot them down. Why do you like to blame Turkey and defend this dictator and murderer Assad?? 144 planes have been in Turkish airpace the last year and not ONE of them has been shot down?????For heavens sake show some respect for the dead pilots and there family.

Joshua Bronxman

7/5/2012 4:23:44 PM

There is sure to be a difference where the plane was hit and where it crashed. There probably would have been a complete loss of control.

Adam Polk

7/5/2012 4:09:54 PM

The parts found in a area which 8,6 miles to Syrian coast. according to Turkish hurriyet.


7/5/2012 4:09:48 PM

According to received AIS-signals compiled from the internet the MV Nautilus (call sign J8B3605, MMSI 376404000) now seems to be in Syrian waters. Last signals received one minute ago. 0.1 Knots, status Waiiting. But not for sure as data can be not accurate.
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