Pilots, wreckage from Syrian-downed Turkish plane still missing
Two pilots and the wreckage of a Turkish military plane downed by Syria in international airspace over the Eastern Mediterranean have yet to be found, Turkish General Staff has said.
In a statement on Thursday the General Staff said search and rescue teams had swept an area of over 1,600 square sea miles only to recover pieces of military equipment pilots used and chunks of the downed RF4 military reconnaissance plane.
The statement said the search and rescue efforts were still underway and they deployed a frigate, a gunboat, a patrol boat, two coast guard boats, a plane and four helicopters as well as a hydrographic vessels with the Turkish Naval Forces.
The statement also said the search zone had an average depth of 1,260 meters.
The unarmed Turkish plane was shot down by Syria while on a training and test mission last Friday in the international airspace after unintentionally strayed into Syrian airspace before it was quickly warned by Turkish authorities to leave.
The incident has drawn widespread condemnation amid the continuing violence in Syria.
Turkey said the Syrian act constituted a violation of international law and that Ankara would take "every necessary measure."
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said rules of military engagement of the Turkish Armed Forces had been revised in the face of the incident, adding, "any Syrian military element approaching the Turkish border from Syria will be considered as a military threat and dealt with accordingly."