MOSCOW, The Russian fighter jet shot down by Turkey has yielded a flight recorder box with mostly unreadable data, investigators revealed Monday.
Russia had hoped evidence within the so-called black box of the Su-24 plane, downed Nov. 24, would prove the aircraft never passed through Turkish airspace, but Sergey Bainetov, deputy chief of the Russian Air Force flight safety service, announced 13 of the 16 recording microchips aboard the plane were damaged beyond use. One may be adequately preserved to obtain data, he said.
The recorder was opened Friday in the presence of international experts from China, the United States and Britain, among other countries, and preliminary findings were released Monday.
“International observers posed no questions during our work,” Bainetov said. “They gave a high assessment of the transparency of our actions.”
The plane was shot down by an air-to-air missile fired from a Turkish fighter jet. Russia said its plane was in Syrian airspace, while Turkey said it violated Turkish air space while traveling to Syria, and ignored warnings to leave. The two people aboard the Russian plane ejected safely, but one, the pilot, was shot and killed by gunfire from apparent militants while parachuting from the plane. The navigator was rescued.
The incident sparked a diplomatic row between Russia and Turkey, and Russia has instituted bans on Turkish exports and Russian tourism to Turkey. Russia has also demanded an apology, which has not been forthcoming from the Turkish government.
By Ed Adamczyk