World Bulletin / News Desk
A Turkish military reconnaissance plane which crashed last June in international waters over the Mediterranean was hit by a surface-to-air missile, according to findings of a Turkish forensic team investigating the incident.
A military prosecutor with the Turkish General Staff said Wednesday that the forensic team had found no sign of of anti-aircraft gun round impact on the rudder of the RF-4 plane -- a finding that invalidates the Syrian claims that the plane was shot down by anti-aircraft gun fire -- and that the examination of the radar warning receiver of the plane had shown that it had received a missile signal prior to the crash.
The prosecutor said the forensic team found particles of potassium-chlorate, a compound typical of chemicals used in war heads and in missile fuel as oxidizer.
The prosecutor also said there was no sign that the plane could have experienced some technical fault that might have caused it to go down.
"The bottomline is that the investigation suggests that our plane was downed by blast impact from a Syria-fired missile on the left rear side of the aircraft," the military prosecutor said.
The Turkish plane was downed on June 22 nearly nine nautical miles off coast of Syria. Bodies of the two pilots of the jet were found on July 4 at a depth of 1,260 metres near the wreckage of the jet which had broken up into pieces.