Turkey starts lifting stricken Pegasus plane from cliff

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People work on a recovery operation around a Boeing 737-800 of Turkey's Pegasus Airlines in Trabzon, Turkey. (AP)
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People work on a recovery operation around a Boeing 737-800 of Turkey's Pegasus Airlines in Trabzon, Turkey. (AP)
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People work on a recovery operation around a Boeing 737-800 of Turkey's Pegasus Airlines in Trabzon, Turkey. (AP)
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People work on a recovery operation around a Boeing 737-800 of Turkey's Pegasus Airlines in Trabzon, Turkey. (AP)
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People work on a recovery operation around a Boeing 737-800 of Turkey's Pegasus Airlines in Trabzon, Turkey. (AP)
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People work on a recovery operation around a Boeing 737-800 of Turkey's Pegasus Airlines in Trabzon, Turkey. (AP)
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People work on a recovery operation around a Boeing 737-800 of Turkey's Pegasus Airlines in Trabzon, Turkey. (AP)
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People work on a recovery operation around a Boeing 737-800 of Turkey's Pegasus Airlines in Trabzon, Turkey. (AP)
Updated 19 January 2018
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Turkey starts lifting stricken Pegasus plane from cliff

ISTANBUL: Turkish engineers on Thursday began a complex operation to lift with two cranes a passenger plane which skidded off the runway at a provincial airport to a precarious position just meters from the sea.
The Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737-800 plane had landed normally at Trabzon airport late on Saturday on a flight from Ankara but then went off the runway just meters (feet) from the waters of the Black Sea with its wheels stuck in mud.
Since then, it has remained on the steep slope that descends from the airport apron into the sea for four days, its nose pointing down and managing to defy gravity by being stuck in thick mud.

The Turkish aviation authorities closed Trabzon airport from 0100 GMT to all air traffic so that the salvage operation can take place, with flights diverted to the nearby Ordu-Giresun airport, also on the Black Sea.
The authorities sent two cranes from Ankara and Samsun to carry out the operation, the Dogan news agency said.
Engineers began the operation by tying cables around the wing area of the plane in cradle fashion and also around the tail area. Both cranes will then work to lift the plane onto the runway.

Once it is back on the runway, it will be emptied of remaining fuel, taken to a hangar, where the baggage and personal possessions of the passengers will finally be removed.
All 162 passenger and six crew were safely evacuated but witnesses said at the time it was miracle there had been no casualties and the plane did not slip into the sea.

The pilot told prosecutors investigating the incident that the plane had undergone a sudden surge of power from one of the engines while taxiing on the runway.
The cause of the technical issue has yet to be made clear although images showed one of the engines had broken off and fallen into the sea.


Russia ‘trying to help Syrian refugees to return home’

Russian soldiers distribute aid in the central Syrian province of Homs. (File/AFP)
Updated 17 August 2018
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Russia ‘trying to help Syrian refugees to return home’

  • A buffer zone separates Syria to the east, from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights to the west
  • The Russian military police have set up four observation points along the demarcation line on the Syrian side of the buffer zone

MOSCOW: The Russian Defense Ministry said it was coordinating efforts to help Syrian refugees return home and rebuild the country’s infrastructure destroyed by the civil war.
Col. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev said in a conference call that included Russian and Syrian officials that work is underway to rebuild dozens of Syria’s power stations, schools and other vital institutions.
In Damascus, Syrian Public Administration Minister Hussein Makhlouf pledged the regime would protect refugee property rights and grant returning refugees a year’s deferral from military conscription.
“The Syrian government is working to simplify procedures for refugees who return, repair housing and try to create new jobs,” Makhlouf said, adding that the authorities were also working to streamline legislation to facilitate refugee returns.
He dismissed as hostile “propaganda” claims that some refugees were facing arrests on their return.
Makhlouf called on Western nations to drop their sanctions against Damascus, introduced early in the seven-year conflict, in order to help post-war restoration and encourage the return of the refugees.
Mizintsev said that over 1.2 million of internally displaced Syrians and about 300,000 refugees have returned in the past two and a half years.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian President Vladimir Putin might take part in a summit with the leaders of Turkey and Iran at the beginning of September.
The three leaders met in April at a summit in Ankara where they discussed developments in Syria.
With help from its Russian ally, President Bashar Assad’s regime has expelled fighters from large parts of Syria’s south since June.
Israel has repeatedly pledged to prevent Iran from establishing a military presence along its border. A series of airstrikes that killed Iranians inside Syria have been attributed to Israel.
A buffer zone separates Syria to the east, from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights to the west.
The Russian army’s Lt.-Gen. Sergei Kuralenko told reporters on an organized press tour this week how “stability” had returned to the buffer zone.
Apart from “a few problems with Daesh” in its southern tip, the demilitarized zone was “entirely under control of Syrian military police,” Kuralenko said.
“Everything is ready” for the return of UN troops, he said, after the peacekeepers were forced to withdraw in 2014.
After retaking most of the two southern provinces adjacent to the buffer zone, regime forces last month raised their flag inside, above the key border crossing of Quneitra.
The Russian military police have set up four observation points along the demarcation line on the Syrian side of the buffer zone, Kuralenko said, and plan to set up four more in the near future.
They are “willing to hand them over to the UN if it says it is ready to ensure the monitoring of the Golan alone,” he said.