Plane disaster report blames Nato
16 January 2004
MADRID – An internal investigation by the Ministry of Defence into a military plane crash which left 62 Spanish soldiers dead has accused Nato of failures, it was reported Friday.
In May, all 62 soldiers were killed as they returned from a peace-keeping exercise in Afghanistan when their Yak-42 aircraft crashed in Turkey.
Fears over the safety of the ageing ex-Soviet aircraft have been raised and the Spanish government had threatened to take legal action against Nato.
The tragedy has been an on-going issue in Spain with many relatives of the soldiers complaining the government has not done enough to compensate them for their loss.
A report in El Pais newspaper Friday said an internal investigation by the Ministry of Defence will blame an agency of Nato for falling to correct irregularities with former Soviet airforce planes.
The newspaper claims these safety problems had already been raised by military bosses before the crash.
Eduardo Zaplana, government spokesman, confirmed Friday that the Spanish military had made complaints about the safety of the ageing aircraft.
But he said that a Nato agency which was responsible for the aircraft, only took economic sanctions against the companies which operated them and did not correct safety fears.
Nato has denied wrongdoing.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news