September 23, 2014

Russia probes dangerous aircraft incident in Afghan airspace

By Sajad - Thu Jan 24 2013, 5:47 pm

Russia plane incident KabulAccording Russian air transport officials a Russian passenger airplane faced a dangerous incident in Afghan airspace after a mysterious and unresponsive plane was flying close to the aircraft.

The incident was first reported in Russian media on Wednesday after the Boeing 767 plane chartered by a major Russian tour operator and carrying 285 people from Bali landed at its destination in the Urals’ Yekaterinburg, Channel News Asia reported.

In the meantime Channel One television on Wednesday aired computerised footage of the plane in a near brush-off with a fighter jet, implying it could be a NATO plane as Afghanistan does not have its own fighter planes.

A spokesman of Rosaviatsia, Russia’s air transport agency said, according to the captain of the plane, the warning system went off when it was flying over Kabul, “indicating a dangerous approach of another plane.”

The plane, which belongs to charter airline Nordwind Airlines, was travelling above Kabul’s vicinity at an altitude of 10,800 metres (35,000 feet), the official said. The second plane was 330 metres (1,000 feet) away from the Boeing and was not responding to its calls.

Meanwhile a senior Russian official quoted by Interfax on Thursday said the fighter jet “had military colours similar to a plane from NATO’s air base” although this was not yet confirmed by Rosaviatsia.

“We don’t have information about whether it was a fighter plane,” Rosaviatsia’s spokesman said, but the agency is required to check such reports per Russia’s air transport rules.

He added that it is not in the agency’s power to send requests for information to NATO or Afghanistan.

If the incident above Afghanistan is confirmed, it would be the first in “several years,” he said.

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