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Crashed plane had no warning system

THE AN-24 MILITARY plane that crashed on January 19 in north-eastern Hungary killing 42 Slovak soldiers and crew was not equipped with a ground proximity warning system that might have alerted pilots to the fact they were flying dangerously low.

Defence Ministry officials said they had considered purchasing such a system, which shows pilots the terrain below them with the help of a satellite and an electronic map, in 2004, but had decided against it.

Ministry representative Ľudovít Mikuška said officials had decided not to buy the system because they believed "the plane has equipment that ensures safe flights and safe landings".

Ground proximity alarms are required equipment on civilian airplanes, but the An-24, as a military plane, did not have to have one.

"If they had had this system it would have saved them. The ministry should have ordered the system a long time ago," an unnamed pilot said to the SME daily.

Jaroslav Kuča, the Slovak Airforce's main engineer, said there was no evidence such a system could have prevented the tragedy.

Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports
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