Around Slovakia

British paraglider dies in crash
Senile but vital man escapes nursing home
Skinheads commemorate dead mate
Skinheads attack Romany disco bouncer
SOP meeting features incident with Koliba cameraman
Dangerous car parking
Man checks gas tank with lighter

British paraglider dies in crash

A 34-year-old paraglider from Great Britain died at a paragliding competition at the Donovaly recreation area on August 20.
Competing at the fourth Slovak paragliding championship, the man fell from a height of 30 meters as his paraglider collapsed for unknown reasons. The accident, the first of its kind to happen in Donovaly, occured near the chair-lift at the Nová Hoľa slope at 5 o'clock p.m.
Ján Jagoš, the championship organizer, told the press that the tragedy had not occured during the competition, but during the sportsman's free time.
The championship involved 28 domestic and 36 foreign pilots who competed for four days from August 20 to 24. The accident is being investigated by police in cooperation with the Slovak Association of Amateur Aviators.

Senile but vital man escapes nursing home

It took searchers five days to find an 84-year-old man who had left a local nursing home for elderly people without telling anyone of his intention to flee.
A squad of 40 nurses, police officers and village citizens searched for the man not only in Valaská Belá but in the vast area of countryside surrounding the town, where the man had lived a year ago, before being placed under watch in the nursing home. After failing to locate him at his previous haunts, the policemen and nurses began asking local villagers for assistance.
After a few days of searching, the man was finally found munching a hot-dog at the bus station in the nearby town of Prievidza. When policemen approached him, the old man started yelling, saying it was no one's business where he was and why. Later he admitted that he had been on his way to the Piešťany spa, because he had never been there and felt like having bath. It took policemen and nurses a few hours to persuade the vital and defiant old man to return to the nursing home.

Skinheads commemorate dead mate

Almost 200 skinheads from Slovakia and the Czech Republic gathered at the cemetery in Prievidza (Trenčín region) on August 22 to commemorate the murder of their comrade Jozef Bahna, who was killed by a Romany, Ernest Tomka, on a local public transport bus two years ago.
According to a local police officer, the gathering was peaceful and accompanied only by the lighting of candles and the placing of flowers on the dead man's gravestone. No racially-motivated incidents were reported, even during the bald-headed mourners' funeral-like procession through city streets.
Tomka was given a third class sentence of 12 years imprisonment (the toughest possible) after being found guilty of a racially-motivated crime.
Bahna's father, who was present at the cemetery, told press that even the strictest punishment for the murderer would not bring his son back.

Skinheads attack Romany disco bouncer

Four teen-aged skinheads went to a disco on August 24 in the recreation area of Vyhne, a small village in central Slovakia, and injured the 22-year-old Romany bouncer with a knife after being denied free entry. With the words "Don't you punch my brother!", 19-year-old Roman Š. turned towards the bouncer and stabbed him in the throat.
"The patient was brought here suffering from severe shock, with a wound extending through both sides of his neck," said Branislav Kollár, head of the surgery department at Žiar nad Hronom hospital. "He was lucky because the knife did not cut the main artery or his windpipe. In such a case, the boy would have died in minutes," Kollár added.
Describing Miroslav T., the attack victim, Kollár said he was a peaceful and intelligent young man. Lieutenant Dušan Juhász, the police officer in charge of the case, told the press that three of the four youngsters were under 18 and had arrived in Vyhne one day before.
A source who requested anonymity maintained that the incident was not at all accidental, but had been planned by the four juveniles from Prievidza, where there is a large and rather powerful community of aggressive, hairless racists.

SOP meeting features incident with Koliba cameraman

On August 24, Václav Formánek, a cameraman from the Koliba Studio film company,which is closely tied to the Slovak government, was forced to leave the pre-election meeting of the Party of Civic Understanding (SOP) at Trojičné námestie in Trnava, after being accused of using his footage to discredit top SOP representatives on STV, Slovakia's public TV station.
Formánek was prevented from filming the meeting, and was pushed off the square after Jozef Pročko, Slovakia's famous showman and SOP's campaign mascot, alerted the crowds to the presence of the sneaky snooper. Pročko warned that Koliba Studio had provided footage of the previous SOP meeting for STV, from which a 30-second clip was used to smear the reputation of Rudolf Schuster, SOP Chairman.
"If you stick to the ideas that you declare here, the material cannot be misused by anyone," replied Formánek. Schuster struck back saying that STV is preparing a movie that slurs him and his family. Trnava police wanted to allow Formánek to shoot on, but he declined and went away.
At the meeting, SOP's top five leaders criticized the current ruling coalition and swore that SOP would never cooperate with Premier Vladimír Mečiar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS).

Dangerous car parking

Two young ladies from Malacky in western Slovakia found that parking a car can sometimes be dangerous in the Slovak capital. On August 25, they arrived at Bratislava's Obchodná ulica, a shopping street in the city center, and pulled their car in front of a house.
Immediately, the ladies were verbally attacked by a middle-aged woman who claimed that the car was parked on her private property. After delivering herself of a few ineffectual but vulgar words, the woman took off one of her high-heeled shoes and proceeded to a more direct method of persuasion by trying to spike the two amazed ladies with the heel of the shoe. Her fury then getting the better of her, she attempted to throttle the two 'intruders'.
After the driver had been given a black eye, the attacker was given a breather by the arrival of her two sons who immediately pitched in to the family combat. The younger stabbed the car's tire, broke off the rear view mirror and damaged the left front door. The older was seen by a casual witness holding a pistol and shouting "I'll kill you all!"
Police who arrived at the scene after a few minutes detained the armed maniac and his relatives. The incident has been classified as a civil offence and is being investigated by the Old Town police in Bratislava.

Man checks gas tank with lighter

An indisputably original idea occured to Miroslav A., 36, while driving from eastern Slovakia at 10 p.m. on August 24. Due to begin a long distance haul in his truck the next morning, he decided to perform a final check on the vehicle.
Accompanied by his son, he began the inspection. Trying to ascertain the level of gas in the tank, he was hampered by insufficient light, but quickly had an idea.
He pulled a cigarette lighter out of his pocket and, holding the flame over the inside of the tank, peered inside. The gas vapors ignited immediately, leaving father and son both with light skin burns. They will spend the next few weeks recovering in the nearby Košice-Šaca hospital.

Compiled by Ivan Remiaš from press reports

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