Friday, October 28, 2016

Russian and US jets flew dangerously close in Syria. The American pilot could feel turbulence from the other plane

The closest call came on October 17, in the "middle of the night, probably somewhere around midnight," Lieutenant General Jeff Harrigian, the commander of US Air Force Central Command said on Friday, first reported by AFP.

A US aircraft “was generally in that same area” as a Russian fighter jet, and they had a “near miss,” Harrigian said, explaining that the Russian pilot probably didn’t see the US plane in the dark. The aircraft were “inside of half a mile” from each other.

“I would attribute it to not having the necessary situational awareness given all those platforms operating together," he said. Both planes were flying without lights.

  • Another senior military official said that the American pilot could feel turbulence from the other plane.

"It was close enough you could feel the jet wash of the plane passing by," the official said.

The American pilot was unable to contact the Russian via an emergency radio channel. The next day, US officers called their Russian counterparts via a hotline to ask about the incident, the official said. The hotline was set up so the two militaries can discuss the approximate locations and missions of planes in an attempt to avoid operating in the same air space at the same time.

The communications about military operations have continued, despite the fact that the US suspended diplomatic talks with Russia about Syria at the beginning of October.

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