Macedonia President Not Assassinated, Probe Says

Bust of Boris Trajkovski at the Skopje cemetery | Photo by: Sase Dimovski

The new probe into the former president's death has dismissed reports that the aircraft carrying Trajkovski and his staff might have exploded in mid-air, Bosnian television, FTV, reported.

The probe reportedly also dismissed suspicions that French SFOR soldiers who were running the control tower in the southwestern Bosnian town of Mostar were in part to blame for the crash.

Trajkovski died on February 26, 2004, on his way to an international conference in Bosnia. The government plane crashed near Mostar airport amid thick fog and heavy rain. Eight other people died in the disaster.

Unlike the first probe, which blamed mistakes by the pilots, the new investigation says "system errors" on the part of Macedonian Aviation Authorities also led to the crash, FTV reported.

The plane was reportedly unfit to fly and the pilots were improperly trained to fly it, but the Macedonian Aviation Authorities gave it a green light just the same.

The probe, FTV reported, notes that the plane's black box that records key flight data, was malfunctioning and that the pilots, who were changed 15 days before the accident, were not properly trained to fly ''Beechcraft Super King Air 200 Z3-BAB'' planes.

The errors of the Macedonian Aviation Authorities "contributed to the lowering of the level of security of the entire system of civil aviation in Macedonia" the report reads, adding that there were "omissions in the system of training of pilots for special purposes" as well as "frequent interruptions in the continuity of flight" that "influenced security and directly contributed to the accident".

The reports says the direct cause of the accident occurred during the landing procedure, when the plane went down too low and crashed...

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