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Turkmenistan: Plane Still Grounded In Amsterdam

Prague, 19 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - The Dutch government says it has grounded a Turkmenistan Airlines plane until Turkmen authorities explain why it was allowed to make an unauthorized flight to the Netherlands.

The plane landed Sunday night without authorization, carrying 173 Sri Lankan Tamils. Reports have said the Tamils tore up their travel documents in flight, and all requested political asylum.

Reports now say the plane was chartered in Dubai. The plane was allowed to land in Amsterdam, after the pilot radioed that he was running out of fuel.