Diplomats, Government Officials Commemorate Victims of UN Helicopter Crash

Diplomats and local officials attended a ceremony at Prokoško lake to commemorate the 12 OHR and UN officials who were killed in a helicopter crash 20 years ago. In 1997, a United Nations helicopter carrying officials on a mission to help organize elections in the aftermath of the Bosnian war crashed in central Bosnia, killing all 12 passengers, including a senior German diplomat and five Americans. The four Ukrainian crew members, including the pilot, survived.

“From different countries and different backgrounds, they came to contribute to peace. Twenty years later, an entire generation has grown to maturity. The peace that seemed so tenuous in 1997 has held now for more than two decades.”,  said High Representative Valentin Inzko at the Friday ceremony.

“For those of us in the international community still working to support the country on its path to prosperity and security, their sacrifice reminds us of the responsibility to do everything we can to carry their contribution forward.”

The helicopter, a Soviet-built transport that was manned by a Ukrainian Air Force crew contracted to the United Nations, encountered bad weather near the town of Bugojno and plunged into a steep hillside. The passengers included five Germans, five Americans, a Briton and a Pole. The German diplomat killed in the crash, Gerd Wagner, was the deputy to Carlos Westendorp, a Spanish diplomat who was the civilian administrator of the Dayton accords at the time.

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