Monday, November 30, 2015

Determining the crash site of Russian SU-24 shot down by Turkey

On November 24th 2015 Turkey shot down a Russian SU-24, because it had violated Turkey's airspace.
On the same day a video was released of rebels destroying a Russian MI8 helicopter with a TOW.

In this blog we'll geolocate the videos and crash sites.

This video from the Russian ANNA News explains what happened (beware of propaganda/lies):

In the footage a bridge can be seen with a road on the background:

The bridge is likely for a train. A highway-bridge would be much larger.

On Google Maps it shows there is only one railway in that area (red line):

Following that railway in Google Earth, we can see there are two bridges that look like the one in the video. Bridge #2 matches the situation seen in the video.

Now we determine the approximate angle and direction of the camera in that shot. We can simply draw a line in GE starting at the bridge at an angle and look down that line to see when and where the shot matches.
It turns out they are on this hill, with the roof of a house just in front of them:

From here we can determine most of the other shots and directions and we get this situation map:

There is a fire on the opposite hillside (and quite far from the helicopter position too):

The helicopter is parked outside a fenced terrain with a house:

There is another camera/crew filming from another hill:

Red circle = parked helicopter.

Now that we know the position of the helicopter, we can go to the footage of the rebels shooting the helicopter with a TOW:

This shot shows the helicopter:

We look at the backside of the heli and on the right side we can see the wall almost in line with the view.
It means we can draw a line on GE again into that direction. Along that line the TOW-position must be found.
Furthermore the sound of the TOW starts at 1:22 and the hit comes at 1:33. That's after 11 seconds. From wikipedia we can learn that a TOW travels at max 278-320 meters per second. So the distance should be max 3-3,5 kms.

Along that line and within the max distance we can see a hill with houses as we saw in the video too:

These house can indeed be matched:

A small path, as seen in the video can also be seen, so it must have been positioned on this path:

Since this point of view is EXACTLY in the opposite direction of camera two in the ANNA video, it might very well have been possible that they filmed this location.
And it turns out they did:

In the beginning ANNA News filmed the smoke plume of the crashed SU-24:

This was filmed from a slightly higher position. But in GE we can match the view with the video like this:

Then we draw a line starting from the camera position towards the smoke plume (blue line). It simply means the SU-24 must have crashed somewhere along that line.

Turkey has released a map with the alleged route of the SU-24. In Google Earth we can make an overlay and put this map to it's right position:

IF... the Turkeys data is correct, we now have a rather narrow area where the SU-24 might have crashed.
Maybe now we can match any of the other videos...

This one seems to have been shot quite close:

So, in GE we turn in 3D view around the probable crash site until we find something that looks like this:

It is not even THAT difficult, because most point of views don't look like this AT all. One hint that helps to narrow it down is that the smoke plume seems to drift to the right, whereas in the ANNA video it drifted to the left. It means this was filmed from opposite direction.

Here we find a match:

At first I thought the shot was taken from the Turkish-Syrian border. But then 'Samir' pointed out there is a popular spot where photographer come to shoot, which turned out to be EXACTLY in the same line of sight:

Now that we have a second direction, we can see where these two lines cross and THAT will be the crash site (within some margins of error):

This happens to match with the Turkish data:

All this means the pilots must have ejected somewhere in this (red) area:

And also the rebels firing at them and capturing (at least) one, must have been somewhere around there.

Ejected pilots
This video shows rebels shooting at the ejected pilots:

The jet appears on the left:

It flies almost overhead and then to the right:

It falls down at the right side:

Behind this tree:

It seems as if they are on a road and looking at the treeline left of the road. And they are on a slope that's going upwards facing the jet path.

Since we know the flightpath and the crash site of the jet, the cameraman must have been north of it (somewhere in red ellipse):

GE shows that the roads in this area are indeed on a similar upward slope:

In the next shot we see the parachutes coming down. The tree is the same one as the tree just visible on the right in the previous shot:

That gives us the right orientation, and it means the camera is facing Westward:

But now we can see that there is a road at the RIGHT side of this tree.Could there be double parallel roads?

In this screenshot something not natural is visible, what could be the roof of a building:

This screenshot shows the parked cars are at an angle with the road:

Either they are on a turn there, or at some crossing.

This screenshot shows they are on an asphalt road, so we can exclude dirt roads and paths:

The only building downhill in the selected area is here:

If this would be the right spot, their position would have to be here:

At that location, we find find all the elements we have seen in the video and discussed:

We see the parallel 'roads/lanes, the 'crossing', the trees etc. So this must be the spot.

In one of the screenshots above, a rebel is lying on the road, shooting at the pilot. He is in line with the road. That gives us the direction of one of the pilots.
The other one can be seen here:

He is more to the left.

The pilots should have landed somewhere along these two blue lines:

Captured Pilot
This video shows one of the captured and dead pilots:

This screenshot shows a rebel on the road with a very clear shadow:

The time the jet was shot down, was at 9:25 am. With we can see how at that time the direction of the shadows would be (the yellow line):

We need to find a piece of road where the direction of the yellow line falls at an angle as seen in the screenshot.

Furthermore in this screenshot we can see what could be a house:

Since there is only one house downhill in that area, this must be the location:

This location matches all the features seen in the video.
Whether the pilot landed at that location, or if he was brought there is not clear.

With a very high degree of certainty we have determined the SU-24 crash site. This is in line with the Turkish data. It shows the Russians have been lying about their route. The Russian crash site is nowhere in sight here.
With the Turkish data being correct, it also shows the Russian planes INDEED have been violating Turkish airspace.


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