Merkel set for late G20 arrival after 'serious' plane malfunction

The latest embarrassing glitch for the German military forced Merkel to instead take a commercial flight to Buenos Aires with a vastly reduced delegation and miss scheduled talks with several world leaders.

Merkel set for late G20 arrival after 'serious' plane malfunction

Germany's air force on Friday was investigating a serious technical mishap on Chancellor Angela Merkel's plane that forced an emergency landing and delayed her arrival at the G20 summit by more than 12 hours.

It was not yet clear whether Merkel could hold her planned talks at a later stage with US President Donald Trump, Russia's Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping of China.

Shortly after takeoff from Berlin on Thursday, Merkel's Airbus A340-300 was forced to turn back over Dutch airspace, and make an emergency landing in Cologne.

The plane had suffered a complete breakdown of the on-board communication system, a problem described as extremely rare, which forced the pilot to communicate via a satellite phone instead.

"It was a serious malfunction," Merkel told reporters travelling with her aboard the "Konrad Adenauer", a former Lufthansa airlines jet named after post-war Germany's first chancellor.

The German air force on Friday ruled out sabotage, with a spokesman telling national news agency DPA that "there is absolutely no indication of a criminal act".

Merkel had to spend the night in a hotel in nearby Bonn, the former West German capital, because no replacement plane with crew was immediately available.

Early Friday, after just three hour's sleep, she was taken by a German air force plane to Madrid.

From here, instead of flying her usual Airbus jet with bedroom suite, secure communications and an anti-missile system, she and her trimmed down entourage boarded an Iberia plane for the flight across the Atlantic.

Her husband Joachim Sauer opted to skip the event.

Merkel's delayed arrival has thrown her schedule into disarray, and DPA reported she was to miss the traditional G20 "family photo" of attending heads of state and government.

Last Mod: 30 Kasım 2018, 14:25
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