Putin meets Merkel, other world leaders at G20 summit

Posted December 02, 2018

An Airbus A340 government aircraft carrying German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her delegation to the G20 summit was forced to make an emergency landing en route after suffering technical problems on Thursday evening, the captain said.

The plane turned back from the Netherlands and landed in Cologne because it was the only base with a a replacement plane, the news agency said.

In Argentina on Friday, Merkel had been scheduled to meet Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping and their Argentine host, President Mauricio Macri.

Merkel also said she met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and underscored her concern about recent events in the Kerch Strait, cite of a naval standoff between Russia and Ukraine, adding that all escalation should be avoided. A routine inspection suggests a technical malfunction of the plane's air-to-ground communications systems, a German Air Force spokesman in Berlin said by phone. "Luckily, we had an excellent crew and the most experienced pilot of the special air mission wing".

The aircraft lost communications for almost an hour, forcing it to make an emergency landing in Germany's Cologne-Bonn airport.

Reports say Mrs Merkel will travel on to Buenos Aires on Friday.

After disembarking, Merkel, her husband Joachim Sauer, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and her security officers sat for some time at a desk in the airport restaurant.

In June, problems with the hydraulics system on the same plane forced President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to take an alternative aircraft to Minsk.

In a weird incident involving Merkel's official plane in 2013, a 24-year-old intruder high on drugs and wearing just underpants managed to get aboard the parked jet in Cologne and stage what media termed "a one-man party" before he was arrested.