BREAKING: Second pilot found dead amid reports rescue helicopter also DOWNED

A RUSSIAN helicopter has been downed while searching for the pilots who ejected from their burning jet after it was shot down this morning while flying over Syria, according to unconfirmed reports.

PUBLISHED: 11:42, Tue, Nov 24, 2015 | UPDATED: 13:06, Tue, Nov 24, 2015

A Russian search and rescue helicopterTWITTER

A Russian search and rescue helicopter

The Russian helicopter had reportedly been scrambled to the crash scene to search for survivors after the jet was shot down following 10 warnings in five minutes to leave Turkish airspace, a Turkish military official has said.

It comes as rebel forces said that bodies of both pilots have been recovered, Al Jazeera reported.

The Russian jet was just over the Syrian border when it was downed by F16 Fighting Falcon jets belonging to Turkey, the Turkish official said.

But the Russian Defence Ministry said the plane had not violated Turkey’s airspace and was flying at an altitude of 6,000 metres.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called an emergency meeting over the downing of the jet and unverified sources have claimed Russia is currently sending a warship across the Dardenelles from the Black Sea into the Mediterranean.

The Tweet announcing the downed helicopterTWITTER

The Tweet announcing the downed helicopter

NATO has announced it will be holding an extraordinary session at 4.30pm GMT after Turkey requested it following the incident.

Two pilots managed to eject from the jet and were seen landing with the help of parachutes.

The jet is reported to be a Russian Su-24 flown by a pair of Russian pilots, with one believed to have been captured by Syrian rebels from the Alweya Al-Ashar (Brigade of the 10th) which consists of Turkmen with strong links to Turkey.

A Kremlin spokesman said it was a “very serious incident” but that it was too early to draw conclusions.

Footage from private Turkish broadcaster Haberturk TV showed the warplane going down in flames in a woodland area, a long plume of smoke trailing behind it. The plane went down in area known by Turks as “Turkmen Mountain”, it said.

Two pilots managed to eject from the jet and were seen landing with the help of parachutes.

A map showing the downed jet's locationEXPRESS

A map showing the downed jet’s location

The jet is reported to be a Russian Su-24 flown by a pair of Russian pilots, with one believed to have been captured by Syrian rebels from the Alweya Al-Ashar (Brigade of the 10th) which consists of Turkmen with strong links to Turkey.

He was initially thought to be alive but rebels have now said they have recovered both pilots’ bodies.

The second pilot is believed to have died in the crash after footage was released by Syrian rebels appearing to show them crowding around a body saying “Allahu Akbar” – God is Great in Arabic.

The pilots eject from the planeTWITTER

The pilots eject from the plane

A Turkish offical said: “The data we have is very clear. There were two planes approaching our border, we warned them as they were getting too close.

“We warned them to avoid entering Turkish airspace before they did, and we warned them many times. Our findings show clearly that Turkish airspace was violated multiple times. And they violated it knowingly,” the official said.

A second official said the incident was not an action against any specific country but a move to defend Turkey’s sovereign territory within its rules of engagement.

Russia is currently fighting in Syria with President Bashar al-Assad’s troops against the rebels and Islamic State (ISIS).

Sources say the brigade has now launched “a counter-offensive” against President Bashar and Russian troops in a bid to take back the Turkman mountains.

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