The bodies of two Turkish air force pilots who were shot down by the Syrian military last month have been found with the help of Robert Ballard, the undersea explorer famous for discovering the wreck of the Titanic. Their F-4 Phantom jet was shot down in international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea on June 22. Syria claimed that they believed the jet was an Israeli fighter that had violated its airspace, but Turkey claims they have intercepted communications that prove that the Syrians knew what they were shooting at. The incident has heightened tensions between the two neighbors, causing Turkey to beef up its air defenses and order Syria to keep its military forces away from their shared border.
Turkey says they requested help from Ballard and his ship, the E/V Nautilus, which was able to pinpoint the location of the plane on the sea bed after being given the general location of where it went down. The bodies of pilots Gokhan Ertan and Hasan Huseyin Aksoy were reportedly still inside the plane.
Ballard and his team discovered the wreckage of the Titanic on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in 1985, and has also found the wrecks of the famous German warship Bismarck and PT-109, the boat that was commanded by John F. Kennedy when it was sunk during World War II.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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