World Bulletin / News Desk
The Turkish military has said search and rescue efforts to recover the wreckage of a jet downed by Syria last Friday and its two pilots have so far turned up very little.
The General Staff said in a statement posted online on Thursday that five military ships and four search and rescue helicopters have been searching for the jet since Friday. The statement said teams have been working around the clock, but neither the pilots nor the wreckage have been located. The military added that they have only been able to find some pieces of the jet and some of the pilots' possessions.
Minister of Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications Binali Yıldırım said on Tuesday that the pilots' helmets were found during search and rescue efforts, a sign that, experts say, could indicate the pilots ejected before the aircraft crashed into the water.
A Turkish jet was shot down by Syrian forces while flying solo and unarmed 13 miles off the coast of Syria in international airspace last Friday. However, Syria still maintains the aircraft was in Syrian airspace when it shot down the plane. Syria, which joined in Turkish efforts to locate the wreckage and pilots, earlier claimed that it handed the tail section of the plane over to Turkey and that it bears visible bullet holes, evidence that it was shot down by short-range weapons and thus in Syrian airspace.