Anniversary of air disaster in the territory of Slovakia

The plane of Bulgarian company TABSO crashed on Sakrakopec near Bratislava 50 years ago, killing 82 people on 24 November 1966.

Sakrakopec - the place of the accident Sakrakopec - the place of the accident (Source: TASR)

Flight LZ 101 was heading to Berlin from Sofia. The plane Iliušin Il-18 had never crashed before. The head of crew was Ljubomir Todorov Antonov, one of the professionally oldest captains of Il-18 in the Bulgarian/Soviet flight company TABSO.

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Because of bad weather in Prague, the plane turned in Brno and landed in the airport in Ivanka pri Dunaji at lunch time. After the weather improved, the plane took off.

Meanwhile, the plane Iliušin Il-14 of Czechoslovak Airlines took off from the Bratislava airport. To keep a safe distance between the two planes, Antonov was instructed to keep a height of 300 metres until permission to fly up to his flight level was granted.

At 16:30 the plane took off, but in a while disappeared from the screens of the control tower. The plane crashed at Sakrakopec. 74 travellers and 8 crew members lost their lives. There were no Slovaks on board, but five Czechs and famous Bulgarian opera singer Jekaterina Popová and Honduran writer Ramon Amaya Amador.

An investigative commission wasn’t able to find the exact reason for the plane crash. According to the commission, the reason for the crash was most likely insufficient evaluation of terrain and weather conditions by the plane crew.

Several months after the plane crash, 82 birches planted at the crash site, one for each victim. In May 2012, the association Istropolitan placed an informational desk in Sakrakopec with a description of the tragedy in Slovak, Bulgarian and English, the technical parameters of the plane and a list of victims from November 1966.

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