Slovak and Hungarian officials participated in a wreath-laying memorial ceremony in the Hungarian village of Hejce, where 42 Slovak soldiers died in a tragic military aircraft crash on January 19, 2006.
“It is impossible to count the lives that Slovak members of mine-clearing units, guard units and other specialists have saved,” said Slovak Defence Minsiter Martin Glváč , as quoted by the TASR newswire, when addressing the families of the victims. “The cruel paradox lies in the fact that while they helped others, you as their close ones, waited for them in vain.”
“It is impossible to forget what happened here. Likewise, we can never forget that we and the whole of Slovakia have a reason to be proud of the soldiers,” the minister added.
Hungarian Defence Minister Csaba Hende noted that the Slovak soldiers had been deployed side by side with their Hungarian peers in an international mission in Kosovo.
“We mustn’t forget that we are allies and that we are fighting for peace and security,” said Hende, as quoted by TASR.
The AN-24 military aircraft was carrying 28 soldiers returning from their mission in Kosovo as part of a regular troop rotation. Seven support staff and eight crew members were also on the plane. The crash took place just five kilometres from the Slovak border. Investigators ascribed the accident to pilot error, and only one soldier survived the crash, TASR wrote.
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
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21. Jan 2013 at 14:00