Hejce, January 19 (TASR) – Slovak and Hungarian Defence Ministers Peter Gajdos (Slovak National Party/SNS) and Istvan Simicsko, respectively, paid tribute to the memory of 42 victims of a Slovak military aircraft crash on Borso hill and in the village of Hejce, Hungary on Friday.
The tragedy happened twelve years ago when an aircraft with 43 people on board returning from a KFOR mission in Kosovo crashed on Borso hill. Only one of the soldiers survived the accident, Martin Farkas, then a lieutenant – today a captain.
“This place is a reminder of how fragile life is and that it can change really in a second to something else. This air disaster is a really huge catastrophe in the 25-year history of independent Slovakia and its armed forces,” Slovak Defence Minister Gajdos said after the ceremony at a memorial on the site of the tragedy.
Gajdos went on to say that the memory of the soldiers who died in the air disaster should also be included in a memorial to soldiers killed on duty in modern times that the Defence Ministry plans to set up in the military cemetery Haj Nicovo in Liptovsky Mikulas (Zilina region). “This is also the way we want to pay tribute to the soldiers and express honour to their memory,” added Gajdos.
“Members of the Armed Forces haven’t forgotten about any of their colleagues who were tragically killed on duty. This is a reminder for us, and a great lesson for us, which we’re trying to implement by improving our training and with the better preparation of arms equipment. As we’re aware that even today we’re fulfilling tasks in crisis areas in Afghanistan, Iraq, we fly hundreds of hours, drive thousands of kilometres, and we’re fully aware of the fact that misfortune doesn’t affect anyone else but people,” said Chief of the General Staff Milan Maxim.
Commenting on declassifying the investigation file of the crash, Gajdos said that, as they’ve declared several times, the classification of the file doesn’t hinder any further investigation.
“I insist at present that the investigation file of the air disaster in question stay in this stage. I want to say at the same time that the bereaved have had and still have the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the investigation file, which is also confirmed by their signatures,” he said, adding that the investigation was conducted under the supervision of a prosecutor and also based on his decision it was ended.