8 July 2004
MADRID – Two generals caught up in a scandal over a military plane crash were removed from active service Thursday for wrongly identifying the bodies of the soldiers who were killed.
The bodies of 22 of the 62 Spanish peacekeepers killed in the country’s worst peacetime military air disaster were mistakenly returned to the wrong families.
“The process (of identification) was done badly or simply not done at all,” Defence Minister Jose Bono told Spanish radio, announcing the punishment of two generals involved.
He said the military had rushed the identification of the bodies in order for them to be ready for State funerals.
The Spanish peacekeepers were returning from a mission in Afghanistan when their NATO-chartered Ukrainian-operated Yak-42 plane crashed into a mountain in fog near Trabzon on the Black Sea on May 26, 2003.
Another 13 Ukrainian crew members were also killed.
Another three members of the Spanish military command were relieved of their duties in June over the crash, an incident which sparked fury in Spain and questions over NATO’s use of former Soviet-bloc aircraft.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news