Online Criticism As Nervous Russian Pilots Fail To Hit Flames Of Turkish Wildfires

Online commentators have been making fun of allegedly nervous Russian pilots attempts to help battle wildfires that destroyed large areas of woodland in southern Turkey after footage was shared showing water being dropped seemingly a long way away from the flames.

Pilots and planes were leased from Russia after wildfires broke out in southern provinces, mainly on the Turkish Riviera, on 28th July and are still raging in multiple regions.

According to reports, Russia provided eight firefighting planes, three of which were leased for TRY 203 million (GBP 16.9 million) for 153 days, along with aircraft provided by other countries.

Minister for Agriculture and Forestry, Bekir Pakdemirli, said on 7th August that 217 of the 223 wildfires raging in 47 provinces have now been brought under control.

The Russian Embassy in the Turkish capital Ankara posted a video of a Russian plane assisting with the fires on 9th August.

Russian Ambassador Aleksei Erkhov said: “Five Il-76 type aircraft, three Be-200 type amphibious aircraft and three helicopters are operating in Turkey. I am confident our pilots’ efforts will work well with the activities of Turkish firefighters and local authorities to help control the fires.”

However, not everyone in Turkey was grateful for Russia’s involvement and Turkish pilot Suat Al said: “This (operation) is not working with leased aircraft and Russian pilots. They are dropping water from 100 metres (328 feet) in order to not take risks.”

One video shared by a local resident appears to show a Russian plane dropping a water load from a great height that dissipates before it reaches the affected area.

In another video, a Russian plane is seen dropping water apparently well before reaching the affected area, and instead dousing several homes, according to Turkish netizens.

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