On the eve of the 25th anniversary of the crash of a US military aircraft carrying the US Secretary of Commerce, Ronald Brown, near Dubrovnik Airport on April 3, 1996, a virtual commemoration was held today.
This tragic accident killed 35 passengers and crew members on-board the United States Air Force Boeing CT-43A including Ronald Brown, who served as the United States Secretary of Commerce during the first term of President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1996.
The aircraft was flying from Zagreb and had stopped over at Tuzla Airport in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Ron Brown was on a special trade mission and on the flight were several mebers of his staff as well as Jim Lewek, a Central Intelligence Agency analyst; Lee Jackson of the Treasury Department; and Nathaniel Nash, The New York Times' Frankfurt bureau chief. There were also two Croatians on the flight, a photographer and a translator.
A USAFMH-53J Pave Low helicopter hovers near the wreckage of Flight IFO-21 - Photo Wiki
An Air Force Technical Sergeant survived the initial impact, but died en route to Dubrovnik Hospital. Everyone else on board died at the scene of the crash.
Flight IFO-21 into Dubrovnik Airport crashed into a mountain, 700 metres high, whilst attempting to land at Dubrovnik Airport in Čilipi at 2:57 on April 3 1996.
One of the legacies of the fatal crash is that on the peak of the Stražišće mountain a large stainless steel cross was installed and hikers can reach the peak via the "Ronald Brown Path."
Today’s commemoration was attended by the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Franković, the Prefect of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, Nikola Dobroslavić, the Dubrovnik Airport Director, Frano Luetić, and Victoria Taylor, the Chargé d'Affaires of the US Embassy.
In the Ronald Brown memorial room in the heart of the Old City of Dubrovnik the book of condolences was signed, on behalf of the US Embassy, Damjan Bencic, the Head of the Trade Exchange Department, signed the book.