Vucic: Helicopter pilots are not to blame, they are heroes

BELGRADE - The prosecution will establish with whom lies the criminal responsibility for the military helicopter crash that left seven people dead on March 13, but calls for determining the political responsibility should be addressed to me, Serbia's Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said on Saturday.

The members of the helicopter crew are heroes, they are not to blame, and the public should stop a smear campaign against them, Vucic told a news conference after the reports compiled by the two commissions, which were published on Friday, stated that the primary responsibility for the crash lay with the crew.

In search for those to blame, the public forgot about the four members of the helicopter, medical workers who lost their lives while trying to rescue a five-day old baby with severe health problems, he noted.

The prime minister said that as far as he and the Serbian government are concerned, Serbian pilot Omer Mehic and the entire crew are not to blame for anything and the same goes for Brigadier General Predrag Bandic who had ordered the rescue operation.

"In Germany, the public has offered support to the family of the co-pilot responsible for the Germanwings plane crash, while here we have a completely opposite situation," Vucic said, calling on the public to show respect for the victims.

He underscored that entire Serbia will remember those who died in the helicopter crash while trying to save the baby as heroes, and that he will not tolerate that the dignity of the Serbian Armed Forces be undermined for the sake of petty political interests.

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