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Preliminary air crash report suggests human error responsible for tragedy

THE PILOTS of Slovakia's AN-24 military aircraft that crashed into a hill in northern Hungary on January 19, killing 42 Slovak soldiers and crew, probably misjudged the height of the terrain below the aircraft, and failed to maintain a safe altitude, according to a preliminary report on the official investigation into the tragedy.

Defense Minister Martin Fedor presented the results to the government at its session March 1.

According to the report, the calmness with which the pilots communicated with air-traffic controllers shortly before the crash suggested they did not realize the danger they were in.

The investigation also showed the aircrew had reported no problems during the flight, the TASR news agency wrote.

The report states, however, that the exact cause of the tragedy remains unknown.

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