Report: Pilot committed suicide before crash

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published

Investigators are baffled why the body of Mehmet Ünal, the pilot of a small plane that crashed in southeastern Turkey on Wednesday, was found some 25 kilometers away from the crash site. Media reports said security forces were looking into the possibility that 40-year-old Ünal jumped the plane without a parachute before the crash.

Ünal was in training to be a pilot at the aviation academy of Gaziantep University in southern Turkey and had few flight hours left to complete to receive his flight certificate when the crash took place in the southeastern town of Besni.

Professor Ali Gür, president of Gaziantep University, told reporters on Friday that it was not "ethical" to speculate about suicide and noted the investigation was not concluded yet on the exact cause of death or the crash. However, he pointed out that the plane was well-maintained and had no known errors. "This plane had an automatic pilot system. The pilot needs to push a button only in case of an emergency and the plane would be automatically diverted to any airport it is programmed to land in case of an emergency pre-flight," he said. "It is certain that he jumped from the plane 25 kilometers before the plane crashed at the site it was found, yet, we don't know why he jumped," he said.

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