ANN Reader Peter Voinovich, who lives near
the scene of the sensational "wedding shoot-down," has what he
tells us is a little more information -- and it sounds a little
more plausible, too:
I am 20 years old and a pilot (currently holding PPL and glider
ratings, and continuing towards the CPL).
The bizarre crash story
is a typical media-fuss and sensationalism story.
The entire event was something like this: [Peter says this
account is, "roughly 80% true." Sure sounds like an improvement to
Two pilots were flying under VFR out of Kraljevo airfield (150km
SE of Belgrade). The most important fact is that we now understand
they did not have authorization for that flight -- no flight plan
-- and they didn't even contact the tower during the entire
Also, it has been reported that neither of them had a pilot's
license (of any kind)! The PF [pilot flying] had some glider
experience but no pilot license.
During the flight they saw flames near the left wing fuel tank
and initiated a forced field landing. As they descended, the fire
spread and when they crash-landed (successfully at that point) the
cockpit area was in flames.
A few man who were
close to the crash site (and who, as they approached, found out
that they actually knew the pilots) got them out and suffered
serious burns in the process themselves. The two rescuers are still
in the hospital with critical burn injuries.
...but the "shoot-down" story sounds so much better!
Later, the investigators examined the entire a/c and found NO
BULLET HOLES! So the accidental shooting theory was rejected (but
not by the media of course). The key witness said that he saw
people shooting as they were celebrating the wedding and saw the
a/c overflying at the same time. So, apparently, he alone conceived
the "shoot-down theory." The investigators have now dismissed that
and said the probable cause was pilot error (a very soft
The whole thing is very bizarre in every respect. Naturally it
is still under investigation.The plane hit some power lines near
the crash site; that and in-flight engine failure are in
consideration -- but not by the thrill-searching media.
In the attachment is a
photo of the a/c in question. [We couldn't clear copyright, so we
couldn't show it to you; it's here --ed.] You can clearly see
the blown-out left wing fuel tank. In the distance (some 10 feet
away) you can see the gas truck parked in front of a gas station.
They were VERY lucky!
Peter added, "The a/c is an Utva-75. First conceived
and used as the Air Force initial screen 180hp [Lyc
IO-360] two seat piston trainer. It's used in GA as well."
[Thank you very much, Peter, for the update. The original
story seemed too amazing to be true, especially since the alleged
ground fire didn't hit the pilots... and don't yell at us about the
toy guns, please --ed.]