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Co-Pilot's Coffee Spill Forced Serbian President To Cancel Talks With Pope

Serbian aviation authorities say a jet carrying Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic to the Vatican on April 17 was forced to turn back because the co-pilot spilled coffee on the instrument panel.

Authorities say the emergency slat extensions on the jet's wings were accidentally activated when the co-pilot tried to clean the spilled coffee off of the panel, causing the plane to dive and one of the engines to shut down.

The French-built Dassault Falcon 50 aircraft plunged for two minutes, tossing passengers around the cabin, before the pilot stabilized the plane and managed to land it safely back in Belgrade.

The president’s press office initially said that the flight was diverted due to engine failure.

Nikolic had been scheduled to meet with Pope Francis and the Secretary of State of the Holy See, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

But the incident forced him to cancel his visit.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, Reuters, and B-92

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