A drone that apparently flew all the way from the Ukrainian war zone crashed overnight on the outskirts of the Croatian capital, Zagreb.
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That triggered a loud blast but causing no injuries, Croatian authorities said Friday.
A statement issued after Croatia's National Security Council meeting said the “pilotless military aircraft” entered Croatian airspace from neighboring Hungary at a speed of 700 kph and an altitude of 1,300 meters.
The council said that an official criminal investigation will be launched and that NATO will be informed about the incident. The crash means that the large drone flew at least 560 kilometers apparently undetected by air defenses in Croatia and Hungary, both NATO members. There is no evidence of deliberate act, authorities said.
Military experts of The War Zone online magazine said that the aircraft is likely a Soviet-era Tu-141 Strizh reconnaissance drone that must have severely malfunctioned and crossed over the entirety of Hungary and into Croatia from Ukraine. It said that Ukraine is the only known current operator of the Tu-141.
Zagreb mayor Tomislav Tomasevic said parts of the flying object are scattered in several locations. He said authorities are working to determine how the incident happened and that initial findings indicated it was an accident.
“No one was hurt and that is good fortune,” said Tomasevic. “It is a relatively big object. It is amazing that no one was hurt.”
In connection with a drone that crashed in Croatia on Friday, Romania's Defence Ministry (MApN) says that a small aerial object was spotted on Thursday night for three minutes in the Romanian airspace, but its high speed, low flight altitude, coupled with rugged terrain and the weather conditions at the time did not allow the use of other procedural measures to identify the aerial object in flight.
"Romania's airspace surveillance system spotted on Thursday, March 10, a small aerial object, most likely an unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) which flew through the national airspace for a very short period of time, under three minutes.
"The aircraft entered the Romanian airspace coming from Ukraine, at around 11:23hrs, EET, and left the national airspace around 11:26hrs, EET heading for Hungary.
"The trajectory of this aerial object as well as the very brief moment it was in the national airspace, its high speed, low flight altitude, coupled with rugged terrain and the weather conditions at the time did not allow the use of other procedural measures to identify this aerial object in flight," according to MApN. ■