Gov to sack guilty in plane crash scandal
7 July 2004
MADRID – The Defence Minister is to propose that any members of the armed forces found guilty of errors in Spain’s worst peacetime plane tragedy should be dismissed, it emerged Wednesday.
José Bono also said that an investigation into the affair was also looking at whether non-military figures made mistakes.
In May last year, 62 Spanish soldiers returning home from a peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan died when the Yak-42 plane they were travelling in crashed in Turkey.
The Spanish government has been forced to admit that it mixed-up the identities of the soldiers, who were given State funerals.
The scandal also involved claims that Nato had used old, unsafe aircraft and Spain threatened to sue Nato over the affair.
Bono said Wednesday 22 bodies were wrongly identified by Spanish forensic scientists, not their Turkish counterparts.
He made the comments as he spent over an hour explaining to Parliament the facts of the affair.
Bono said that the bodies were incorrectly identified at a “stupid speed”.
The Spanish forensic scientists took just three hours and 25 minutes to look at the bodies, while after the 11 March terrorist attacks in Madrid, they took 15 days.
Bono said that the post-mortems were rushed, partly because the state funerals were due to take place soon after the bodies arrived back in Spain.
But he added that the mistakes with identifying the bodies obscured other concerns over the security of the Yak-42 aircraft, a former Soviet plane.
The aircraft was not checked for technical faults as it should have been, Bono said.
He said the government would prepare legislation to give indemnities to military personnel on missions outside Spain.
Bono will also said security around equipment contracted from other governments will be inspected by a special squad.
He revealed that before the tragedy last year, there had been eight previous accidents with Yak-42 aircraft.
Bono said the affair was full of “mistakes and negligence”.
But he said he believed that former defence minister Federico Trillo had acted in good faith.
A monument is to be built in Madrid commemorating those who died.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news