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Victims of the 2006 plane crash remembered

SLOVAK President Andrej Kiska, Slovak and Hungarian soldiers, rescuers and relatives commemorated the biggest air disaster in the modern history of Slovakia which occurred near the Hungarian village Hejce, close to the border with Slovakia. It claimed the lives of 42 people, including those of soldiers, plane crew and employees of the Defence Ministry.

SLOVAK President Andrej Kiska, Slovak and Hungarian soldiers, rescuers and relatives commemorated the biggest air disaster in the modern history of Slovakia which occurred near the Hungarian village Hejce, close to the border with Slovakia. It claimed the lives of 42 people, including those of soldiers, plane crew and employees of the Defence Ministry.

“Let’s not forget,” Kiska said, as quoted by the SITA newswire. “It is the biggest tragedy in the history of our army. We came to pay tribute to people who were a credit to our country; it is now our duty to be a credit to their memory.”

The president also stressed that the soldiers helped to secure peace and freedom.

“It is something a person will remember forever and even after nine years the memories are painful,” Martin Farkaš, the only one who survived the crash, told SITA. “It is a big loss for me; we were working and living together during the mission in Kosovo where it was not easy.”

Farkaš also said that though he has not forgotten about the tragedy, he recovered and stayed in the army. He even participated in a mission in Afghanistan. Currently he is responsible for budgets for foreign operations, SITA wrote.

Slovak Defence Minister Martin Glváč promised during his speech to prevent any similar accidents in the future.

The AN-26 aircraft which carried Slovak soldiers from Kosovo as part of a regular troop rotation crashed on January 19, 2006 near the Hungarian village Hejce, close to the border with Slovakia. It was about to land, but hit the tops of the trees on the Borsó hill and crashed. Investigators ascribed the accident to pilot error, SITA wrote.

The plane crash on Borsó hill is remembered by a memorial plaque placed on the rocks, as well as 42 wooden columns with the names of the victims situated on the site of the tragedy. There is also a memorial in the Hejce village.

Source: SITA

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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