The defence ministers of Hungary and Slovakia on Tuesday commemorated the victims of a Slovak military plane crash in the Zemplén Hills near Hejce, in northern Hungary, on the 16th anniversary of the tragedy.
The Slovak Air Force’s AN 24 aircraft carrying 43 soldiers was returning home from a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo on January 19, 2006, when it crashed.
The only surviving soldier, Martin Farkas, laid a wreath at this year’s commemoration, just as he had done in previous years.
Addressing the ceremony, Jaroslav Nad, the Slovak defence minister, said: “The tragedy in which we lost colleagues, friends, fathers and mothers must never be forgotten.” The peacekeepers never had the chance to reflect with pride on their mission defending the peace in Kosovo, he added.
Tibor Benkő, the Hungarian defence minister, said: “We stand here with a heavy heart … we’ll always remember how much those 42 Slovak heroes did for their country and for the freedom of others.”
Photos by János Vajda/MTI