LISBON, Nov. 11 (Xinhua) -- The Portuguese Air Force said on Sunday that its two F-16 fighters played a "fundamental" role for the successful emergency landing of an Air Astana aircraft at Beja Air Base near Lisbon.
"They certainly played a fundamental role, central to this whole outcome," said pilot-aviator colonel Fernando Costa, the commander of Air Base in Beja.
The commander told a press conference at the air base that the F-16 fighters played a key role because they escorted the plane and gave "all indications" that allowed the aircraft to arrive at the base, adding that without them it would even be unable to approach the base and land in the best conditions.
He said that the F-16 fighters also played some psychological role in radio contact with the commander of the aircraft in the sense of calming them" and so that the landing could "reach a good port," he said.
The aircraft, built by Embraer, belongs to Air Astana of Kazakhstan and had suffered a navigation and flight control failure when it took off from Alverca and was bound for Minsk, the capital of Belarus earlier in the day.
Two of the crew members out of six on board the aircraft with on passengers suffered light injuries in the accident and have been discharged from a local hospital.