A plane carrying German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the Group of 20 meeting in Argentina was forced to make an unscheduled landing Thursday night in western Germany, reportedly due to technical problems. The government Airbus, which was en route to Buenos Aires, turned around over the Netherlands about an hour into the flight, the German news agency dpa reported. The aircraft landed safely in Cologne, with journalists on board reporting no injuries, per the AP. Several firefighting vehicles were on stand-by as the A340-300 VIP landed in Cologne at 9pm, because the plane had more fuel on board than is customary during landing, dpa reported.
According to German military blog Augengeradeaus.net, the aircraft was transmitting a 7600 transponder code, indicating a radio failure. Merkel was told of the need to turn around while she was holding a background briefing for journalists accompanying her to Buenos Aires. A replacement German air force plane was being prepared to carry Merkel and her entourage to the G-20 meeting, which starts Friday in the Argentine capital. Cologne-Bonn airport has a military base called Cologne-Wahn that is adjacent to the civilian airport.
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