MP finds debris, personal items at air crash site

THREE months after an airplane crash killing 42 Slovak soldiers and aircrew in northern Hungary, personal items and debris from the aircraft have been found at the site.

MP Lajos Ladányi from the Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK), who visited the scene of the crash last weekend, found a number of airplane parts including navigation equipment, steel sheeting, a mobile phone, a watch, a camera card, and even the passport of one of the victims, the Pravda daily wrote.

Slovak MPs consider it scandalous that the personal effects of the dead soldiers were left behind after the crash, and demand that the military discipline those responsible.

But the Army said that until now the items had been hidden under the snow, and that not everything could have been recovered immediately.

"I'm very sorry for what happened, but we did everything we could. We also have to realize that it is not our [Slovak] territory, and we have to coordinate our searches with the Hungarian side," said Ľubomír Bulík, chief of staff of the Slovak Army.

The soldiers had been on their way home from a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo when their Antonov plane slammed into a hill minutes from a scheduled landing in Košice. While the precise cause of the accident is still under investigation, pilot error is suspected.

Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports
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