New probe: Macedonian president was not assassinated

A series of mistakes made by the crew, adverse weather conditions and poor maintenance of the aircraft caused the crash killed Boris Trajkovski.

Source: Tanjug
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These findings are contained in a new report presented this week.

The plane crashed near Mostar in Bosnia in February 2004, killing Trajkovski, Macedonia's president at the time, and eight other people on board. The results of the new investigation were presented in Sarajevo on Monday by Omer Kulic, who led a special team of investigators.

They found that a series of mistakes and circumstances caused the crash, and that there was "no room for speculation that it was an assassination," a news conference heard.

Kulic said the plane's crew made "seven important mistakes," of which, according to him, only the last was crucial - when they took the plane below the allowed 1,810ft. It was also stressed that the pilot was not trained "for this type of flying."

This new investigation was opened at the request of the Macedonian government, which was dissatisfied with the original probe, and Kulic himself was an advocate of a new one because of the speculation that Trajkovski was assassinated.

"It turned out, however, that these stories came to nothing. We have submitted our report that lists all the causes that led to the accident to relevant institutions, the prosecutions of Bosnia and Macedonia, as well as to the ministries of transport of the two countries. It is now up to investigative and judicial authorities to decide on further steps," he told reporters.

Kulic recalled that the plane wreckage, "along with the charred bodies" was found quite late, 25 hours after the accident, but that autopsies showed all passengers and crew were "dead on the site." He pointed out that the SFOR mission which at the time controlled air traffic in Bosnia "did not cooperate with the commission, and neither did Bosnia's Directorate of Civil Aviation."

According Kulic, this report is final and provides "all available answers about what happened, which should prevent any further speculation regarding this accident."

The new probe cost about EUR 160,000, while some parts of the aircraft were examined in Germany. The Macedonian government has accepted the report, "with the remark that it does not explain whether a signal was sent from the airport when the plane crashed."

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