Foreign experts, journalists verify unsealing of Turkey-downed Russian Su-24 flight recorder

The Russian military have invited experts from 14 nations to work on the flight recorder of the Russian Su-24 bomber downed by Turkey, but only two of them accepted their invitations, the Defense Ministry reported, before unsealing the device.

The experts who agreed to participate in the study of the flight recorder, which is to provide further evidence into the highly controversial incident, come from the UK and China, Lieut. Gen, Sergey Dronov, deputy commander of the Russian Air and Space Forces, told the media.

The International Society of Air Safety Investigators (ISASI) has confirmed that the black boxes from the Russian Su-24 were decoded objectivity and impartiality, Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) said.

Turkey shot down the Russian warplane on November 24 as it was conducting an anti-terrorist mission in a region close to the Turkish border. Ankara says it used force in response to a 17-second violation of its airspace and was fully justified in doing so.

Moscow denies that any violation happened, a statement that the flight recorder may help to confirm. The device was recovered by Syrian and Russian troops shortly after the incident and transported to Russia for investigation. Moscow pledged that the study of the flight recorder would be carried out with maximum transparency to avoid any shadow of doubt that it had been tampered with.

The unsealing of the flight recorder was performed on camera on Friday. Technicians extracted three circuit boards with memory chips, some of which appeared to be damaged. Lieutenant General Sergey Baynetov, who heads the flight safety service of the Russian armed forces, told journalists that investigators would soon inform how much information could be read from the memory chips.

The boards were locked in a safe after extraction. The commission said a preliminary report into their findings may be expected Monday.