ZAGREB, May 7 (Hina) – Two Croatian Air Force members were killed in the crash of a military trainer aircraft near Zadar on Thursday.
The Defence Ministry said the aircraft was on a regular training flight and that it crashed around 4 p.m. at Biljane Donje near Benkovac in Zadar County.
Minister Damir Krsticevic went to the airbase in Zemunik where he held a press conference with Chief-Of-Staff Admiral Robert Hranj.
At the press conference, Minister Krsticevic said that he was resigning as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence and added that the accident would be investigated.
The two Croatian Air Force members were killed in the crash were Lieutenant Marko Novković and flight selection training lieutenant Luka Jagatić.
Novković, an Australian-Croatian, became a member of the renowned Croatian Air Force and Air Defence aerobatic display team “Wings of Storm” last year. He was the youngest member of the team when he was accepted back in March 2019.
Born in Melbourne, Australia in 1989, Novković graduated as an aeronautical engineer in 2013.
When he joined the Croatian Air Force and Air Defence aerobatic display team Novković said love towards the homeland was crucial in returning from Australia to Croatia.
Second Lieutenant Luka Jagatić, born in 1995 in Peskovec, Zagreb County, graduated in military engineering from the Croatian Military Academy.
He was a platoon commander in a Croatian Army armoured brigade and successfully completed a selection training course for military pilots and had his first solo flight at the end of April this year.
President and Armed Forces Supreme Commander Zoran Milanovic extended his condolences to the families of the two Air Force members killed in the crash.
Milanovic said this was a “horrible and irreparable loss” not just for their families but also their friends and colleagues in the Air Force and the Armed Forces.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic also extended “deepest condolences” to the families, tweeting that the Defence Ministry would form an expert commission to look into the crash.