Croatia has been struggling with a slew of wildfires along the coast this year. A recent blaze in the Dubrovnik area claimed the life of firefighter Goran Komlenac. The failure to repair firefighting aircraft on time led to immediate speculation that his death could have been avoided had the aircraft been in service.
A meeting was held today in the Ministry of Defense with the Aeronautical Technical Center to address the overhaul of firefighting aircraft. Croatia has been reduced to four Canadair water bombers and three Air tractors to fight wildfires, as repairs on the other four firefighting aircraft have once again missed the delivery deadline.
The director of the Aeronautical Technical Center Zdravko Klanac: "The responsibility is mine. I am the head of the Aeronautical Technical Center, and I am responsible for all the good and bad things that happen there. But I also have to say that my conscience is clear. As far as I and a large number of people are concerned, we are did everything to get the works done."
For his part Defense Minister Mario Banožić rejected media speculation that a wave of resignations would ensue: "I will not ask for a resignation, I have no right to do so. What we need right now are the planes in service during the wildfire season, not someone's resignation. When the season ends and after our analysis, what we can ask is that certain processes be accelerated."
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