Saturday, October 25, 2014

Cyprus says Turkish warships not involved in Diamond DA42 aircraft crash

The men who were flying the Diamond DA42 were Cypriot national Avgoustinos Avgousti (pictured left) and Lebanese national George Opeki. Mr. Avgousti was a flight instructor and an extremely experienced pilot, with over 9,000 hours flight experience and high safety standards.

Cyprus dismissed on Friday rumors that Turkish warships operating in the eastern Mediterranean may have been involved in the crash of a light plane that killed two people.
The twin-engine Diamond DA42 plane, flying from the Cypriot airport of Paphos to Beirut, crashed about 74 km southeast of Cyprus on Wednesday night, killing its Cypriot pilot and a Lebanese passenger.
There was immediately widespread speculation that it might have been brought down by Turkish fire as it was flying adjacent to an area declared out of bounds by the Turkish army.
 "The Turkish warships operating off the Cypriot south shores have not interfered in any way with the aircraft's flight," Defense Minister Christoforos Fokaides told journalists.
He said the Turkish vessels were not near where the plane crashed. The Turkish ships approached later but sailed away when informed that a search and rescue operation was being coordinated by the Cypriot Search and Rescue Center.
Turkish warships are providing cover for a seismic data ship prospecting for natural gas in an area within the Cypriot exclusive economic zone -- an action deplored by the European Union on Friday.
Debris of the plane and the bodies of the two people aboard the plane were recovered by German and Brazilian warships providing support to the United Nations Intervention Force in Lebanon.
Cypriot investigators said the pilot had initially reported an unspecified mechanical problem which he later said was resolved. The plane disappeared from the radar screen shortly afterwards. 

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