Thursday, 14 December 2017 | News today: 14

Bosnian aviation authorities are equally responsible for the “King Air” crash as are the pilots

All preconditions for finalization of the investigative actions and analyzes have been completed, although I have the feeling that the Bosnian Committee is attempting to transfer additional percentage of guilt on the pilots and the crew, which, to be realistic, is not the case

Former head of security within Macedonian Ministry of Interior, Zoran Dorevski, who has been monitoring the investigation of President Boris Trajkovski’s death for ten years now, was one of the independent experts who analyzed the crash report of the Government-owned “King Air” aircraft.

In an interview with “Republika”, Dorevski finds the report of the international team, led by the Bosnian expert Omer Kulic, casts a new light on the accident and unambiguously provide answers to the key unanswered questions, which completes all criteria for finally declaring the case ad acta.

You were hired as an independent expert to offer your opinion on the conclusions from the new report on the “King Air” crash. Did you have any remarks or suggestions to add in order to unveil the mystery regarding President Trajkovski’s death?

DOREVSKI: Me and a couple of other experts in various fields worked hard on the draft-report in the past two weeks. Each of us gave individual insight into their respective areas of expertise. It has been explicitly agreed at the very beginning that this group is not conducting a new investigation, but its primary task is to study and analyze the text of the draft-report and form an opinion. Naturally, I interpret some facts or evidence differently, which I have specifically stated in the expertise submitted to the Committee.

In terms of its concept, the draft-report has a specific structure (which the ordinary reader might find vague) because the points do not end with an underlined and distinct comment, but it can be found in the conclusions or references to certain appendices. In my opinion, this remark does not make the draft-report any less valuable, but it makes it much more thorough, besides the indisputable fact that the reader might get lost in the labyrinth of enclosed materials.

All preconditions for finalization of the investigative actions and analyzes have been completed, although I have the feeling that the Bosnian Committee is attempting to transfer additional percentage of guilt on the pilots and the crew, which, to be realistic, is not the case.

You have already predicted some of the conclusions in the new report in your book “Controversies of flight Zulu 3 Bravo-Alpha-Bravo”, in which you analyzed the controversies which appeared in the public. Do you think the report has put an end to the conspiracy theories and has finally revealed the truth regarding the tragic event?

DOREVSKI: The new investigation, especially the new volume of evidence – ample and thorough, result of intensive training, selection, classification and processing, casts a new light on the “King Air B 20033 BAB” aircraft accident from 26 February 2004 near Mostar and undoubtedly provides answers to the key unanswered questions, which completes all criteria for finally declaring the case ad acta.

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The profile of the comprehensive material data base, which I have intensively analyzed in the past two weeks, speaks clearly of the comprehensive, thorough approach of the international investigative team, which gave its maximum. The structure of the enclosed evidence, used as an indicator to explain reasons and consequences from the crash, refers to a strong input by Macedonian representatives, resulting in a completed and final picture of the “King Air” crash.

Everything related to the flight, preparations, taking off from Skopje Airport and the final approach as a critical segment in the entire story, is now absolutely clear.

What remains vague, is some moments which occur immediately after the aircraft took off and last until it has been officially found the following day. Also, insufficiently clear are the traces on the very spot, which are result of the fire. It is important to point out that such crime analysis is close to impossible at such great time distance.

Certain media structures have attempted to discredit the document contents and the experts’ credibility even before it has been officially published. Can their motifs be assumed?

DOREVSKI: This report has touched much deeper areas, if I may say so. I personally think that the members or leaders of the investigative team from 2004 felt somehow concerned and from what I could hear and conclude from what Bosnian Federal Television has presented, there has been an effort to align the content and conclusions of both reports (the one from 2004 and the other one from 2014), which is incomparable.

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The report itself states that all passengers suffered before the major crash happened. However, one of the greatest mysteries was the way bodies in the airplane burnt, namely the inexplicably high temperature on the scene. Is there an explanation of the fire?

DOREVSKI: The autopsy of the body of the Foreign Ministry diplomat showed presence if smoke in the lungs, which refers that at least one, or maybe more of the passengers, were alive when the fire broke. The inhaled smoke indicates that there were ongoing respiratory-inspiratory processes in the passenger lunges when the fire started.

An entire paragraph of the official version is dedicated to the fire.

Based on secondary analysis of the information at our disposal and connection of the condition of objects on the scene, combined with date on the fuel and its specifications and the scarce data from the forensic findings, we can bring some modest conclusions:

  • Temperature at the crash scene has definitely been over 1100 degrees.
  • Kerosene cannot reach such high temperature by itself and it requires additional fueling substance (kerosene can reach a temperature of up to 460 degrees in nature and up to 680 degrees in engines cylinders).
  • The fire lasted very shortly, probably a few seconds.
  • Some of the passengers, although they were outside, were completely burnt, but parts of their limbs were untouched by the fire, as well as their internal organs, which indicates to a short-lasting, but extremely strong fire burst. That is probably why some easily combustible objects nearby remained undamaged.
  • The fire did not start after the plane’s right wing crashed into a tree and while it differed or slid along the field, but most likely after it stopped at the last point.
  • In regard to this hypothesis, we are starting from the fact that speaks about the condition of the passenger that was not burned, and who fell out of the plane in the last two meters of the slide and after it broke apart at certain elevation at the back door (where the passenger who was sitting near the tail of the plane fell out from).
  • There is a possibility that some of the passengers were alive before the outbreak of the fire, according to the official forensic medical findings, which states that (CO2) smoke was found in the respiratory system of the passenger on seat No.6.
  • The varying intensity of the fire, the varying direction of spreading and the selective (not) burning objects and passengers in the cabin of the aircraft can hardly be explained by the chemical and physical laws on fire in aviation accidents.
  • The investigation during the inspection did not make a good use of all benefits and efforts of the forensic sciences and did not use all forensic tramp cards in clarifying the circumstances related to the fire.

The investigation provided evidence that SFOR found the plane in less than an hour after the crash and that it obstructed the investigation diverting it to wrong locations. What did they want to cover up?

DOREVSKI: I have not seen any solid evidence that SFOR found the plane in less than an hour after the crash, but there are a number of statements by the locals from the village of Huskovic, like many other indirect evidence that point to the fact that SFOR were able to find the crashed aircraft within an hour.
After all,  I wrote that in my book back in 2012:

We can conclude that the radial (direction) of the plane traveling to the airport, the elevation, the distance, even the speed, were certainly known to the French controllers, as confirmed by listening to the black box (CVR) and the conversation between the flight crew and the control staff:

Controller:        7.57.53: Are you set for direction 326о?

Pilot:               7.57.54: Affirmative, we are all set.

Controller:       7.57.57: Roger, what is the distance to Mostar, please?

Pilot:              7.58.00: Eight miles. 

For that one minute, moving at a speed between 200 and 150 km/h, the plane passed no more than 1750 meters. Because the control tower knew the transitory radial or direction to the airport, the last location, the speed of movement and the moment when the plane lost contact, it is quite logical the controllers to determine the exact or nearly exact location where the plane crashed in a few minutes. 6 miles (about 10 km) from the airport and less than 100 seconds before the plane crash, the controllers had both the distance and direction in which the plane was located. It becomes clear that SFOR could locate the “King Air” aircraft no later than 9 o’clock in the morning without any difficulties.

In relation to your question what did they want to cover up: regarding the fact that the reasons for the fall of the aircraft have been clarified and that most of the blame is borne by the pilots, I believe that there is no more space to think that someone wanted to cover up something. But if we accept the thesis that SFOR came at the very spot shortly after the accident, but they did not disclose the location, then the only logical conclusion is that the rigid military-hierarchical organization had to make all checks and controls that definitely need to convince the superior senior staff that SFOR has no guilt as a competent authority over the Bosnian sky.

In addition to that statement goes the statement of the commander of the special unit of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vikic, who was at the assumed place of the accident at 10:30 am. He informed that the wider region of the hill Hrgud was blocked by SFOR and assumed it was the place of the accident. SFOR helicopters conducted overflights and two of them landed and took off again with a break of 10 minutes. It all happened between 12:40 and 13:20 pm.

DOREVSKI: The first piece of news about the plane crash in Macedonia was reported by MIA at 8:45 am: Kin Air plane, in which Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski and members of his cabinet traveled, went missing near Mostar this morning.

Second piece of news at 10:28 am: The plane crashed…Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski’s plane crashed

MIA 11:16 am – third piece of news: The President was killed…

Bertie Ahern: President Trajkovski was killed in a plane crash…

Dublin, February 26 – Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern has just announced that the Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski was killed today in a plane crash in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonian Information Agency’s correspondent in Dublin, Iliriana Shurlani reported.

The reactions and public announcements that followed rejected the first controversy. Namely, the official search of the plane was not started yet (allegedly due to the bad weather and the unmined minefields that de facto pose a threat to the search), supposedly the debris of the plane was not found and therefore the fate of the passengers could not be assumed with certainty, and yet more and more statements of sympathy and careful dose of information confirming the death of the passengers were coming.

Ten minutes earlier, announced by the Irish Prime Minister (11:07), as the fourth piece of news came the statement of the Chairman of the BiH Presidency, Dragan Covic, as a confirmation President Trajkovski’s death: … today in Mostar the plane of the Macedonian delegation, which was to attend an international conference on investments in BiH, crashed near Stolac in Herzegovina.

Up to 08:00 pm, a letter of sympathy or statement was sent by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Walter Schwimmer, the President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, Russian President Vladimir Putin, the US Secretary of State Colin Powell and President George Bush and many others, and the plane was not found yet.

In politics, every decision, every move, every word is weighed on scales, looked through a magnifying glass, analyzed, assessed, evaluated and reviewed. The strict diplomatic protocol would not allow a serious politician, especially the first people in the world that I mentioned, to send condolences or to make a statement, without any confirmation of the outcome of the plane, or the passengers.

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By: Nenad Mircevski

Photo: Igor Angelovski