One person was found alive on the crash site
The crash of a Slovak military plane in a mountainous region of northeastern Hungary killed 44 people, officials said. The An-24 plane was carrying troops back from Kosovo yesterday.
Only one person survived after the AN-24 aircraft went down near the Slovak border, said National Police spokesperson Laszlo Garamvolgyi. Garamvolgyi said the flight was carrying 38 passengers and seven crew from Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, to the Slovak city of Kosice when it crashed. A NATO officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said in Kosovo the plane was carrying Slovakian soldiers home after serving in the NATO-led peacekeeping force. A spokesperson for the Hungarian Economic and Transport Ministry said the area where the crash occurred was not heavily populated.
Slovak officials have so far refused to comment on fatalities. Initial press reports indicated that one person had survived.
Slovak Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda, speaking after a hastily convened emergency cabinet meeting, said that 28 soldiers, seven security assistants and eight crew members were on board the Antonov An-24 that crashed late Thursday.
The plane was heading from Pristina, the Kosovo capital, to Kosice in eastern Slovakia when it went down near the Slovak border, Hungary's MTI news agency said. Hungarian and Slovak military and rescue teams were combing the crash site, rugged terrain three kilometres from the Slovak-Hungarian border, for survivors.
Most of the dead are said to be Slovak peacekeepers from the NATO mission in Kosovo. The crash site, 700m up in snowy, forested, mountains, was 20km from the Kosice base in Slovakia to which the plane had been heading.
The head of the Voronezh region, Alexander Gusev, confirmed the death of Major General Vladimir Zavadsky.