Ankara, Nov 25 () - Two pilots who auto-ejected themselves after a Russian jet was shot down by Turkish F-16’s on Nov. 24 near the Syrian border are alive and well and are in the hands of rebel groups in the area, according to security sources in Ankara.
The Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) is in contact with the rebel groups to hand over the pilots alive to Turkey, the sources said.
Earlier reports had suggested that Turkmen rebels’ claimed they shot dead the Russian pilots after they auto-ejected from their jet with parachutes.
Speaking to the Doğan News Agency, Turkmen Deputy Commander to the 2nd Coast Division Alpaslan Çelik had claimed that both pilots were killed.
“We shot the pilots while they were landing with parachutes. Their bodies are here” Çelik said.
“Our friends are carrying the bodies from the other side of the mountains. Their IDs will probably be found on them” he added.