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14 June 2021, 15:47

Belarus' civil aviation chief: Visit of ICAO commission is not on agenda

Artyom Sikorsky
Artyom Sikorsky

MINSK, 14 June (BelTA) – The visit of the ICAO commission members to Belarus is not under discussion, Director of the Aviation Department of the Belarusian Transport and Communications Ministry Artyom Sikorsky told a briefing for the press in Minsk on 14 June, BelTA has learned.

On 28 May, we addressed the ICAO Council detailing the circumstances of the incident and re-inviting all stakeholders to participate in the international investigation. We were sincerely surprised at the reaction of the European and North American countries, the members of the ICAO Council, who by a majority of votes removed Belarus' initiative to conduct a transparent investigation and bring to justice the guilty parties from the ICAO Council resolution. Only on 4 June that the ICAO secretary general notified about setting up the commission. Surprisingly, they did not inform us either about the composition of the commission or its competences. The visit of the ICAO commission members to Belarus is not under discussion. We were simply asked to send the information," Artyom Sikorsky said.

BelTA reported earlier that an aircraft of the air carrier Ryanair was flying over Belarus on the way from Athens to Vilnius on 23 May. The aircraft sent a distress signal. The airport received the signal at 12:50. The FR4978 flight squawked code 7700 – it is the main emergency code, which signifies an emergency situation on board. A message about a bomb on board the aircraft was the reason for the distress call.

The pilot-in-command decided to divert the aircraft to the Minsk National Airport where the aircraft landed at 13:15. Emergency response teams of the airport, ambulances, aviation security personnel, and K9 specialists had already been waiting for the aircraft at the parking apron. Prompt security checks were made. Additional units of the Emergencies Ministry arrived. Representatives of law enforcement agencies worked on site.

There were 123 passengers on board. All of them went through an additional aviation security check and were delivered to the airport's transit lounge for investigation measures. The luggage was also removed from the aircraft and submitted to an additional security check. The tip about the bomb on board the aircraft proved false. The aircraft left the Minsk National Airport for Vilnius at 20:48.

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