A recreational flight in the skies above northern Croatia yesterday ended with the tragic death of two people. A Medimurje microlight crashed into a lake near the border between Varazdin County and Medimurje County. Two persons were aboard the Medimurje microlight and both were sadly killed. Their bodies were retrieved from the lake by divers from the Čakovec Public Fire Brigade near the village of Novo Selo na Dravi.
The Medimurje microlight crashed into the accumulation lake of the Čakovec Hydroelectric Power Plant at around 3:22 p.m yesterday afternoon. Međimurje Police Department regrettably confirmed that the deceased were a 35-year-old and a 42-year-old. One was from Novo Selo na Dravi and the other from the Čakovec area.
Both the pilot and co-pilot of the Medimurje microlight were members of the Rode Kite Club from Prelog, which lies just a few kilometres to the east of where the Medimurje microlight crashed, on the other side of the Čakovec Hydroelectric Power Plant. Such is the popularity of the longstanding flight club, the tragic death of two of its members will have a significant impact on the large community that is welcomed at its facilities.
Čakovec Hydroelectric Power Plant © HEP
Leon Krištović, Deputy Commander of the JVP Čakovec fireman’s department, said that they received a report from the 112 emergency call centre and upon their arrival at the scene, were met by local fishermen who had witnessed the tragedy. The fishermen had recounted seeing the Medimurje microlight experiencing trouble before it crashed into the lake and were able to state they had seen two people on board. They directed the firemen to the position of the crash in the water, where the sad discovery of the deceased men was made. The Medimurje microlight was also retrieved from the water.
The accident was reported to the Air, Maritime and Railway Accident Investigation Agency (AIN) and the state attorney’s office. An investigation will be conducted at the scene of the Medimurje microlight accident on the morning of Friday 5th February 2021 in order to determine the circumstances of this event.
Photo © Vjeran Zganec Rogulja / Index screenshot
All emergency services attended the crash site in order to join the initial response. From pictures of the search operation’s aftermath, published in Index, the Medimurje microlight which crashed looks to have been an ultralight trike. It is a type of powered hang glider that has a fabric flex-wing, powered by a propeller at the rear (behind its occupants) and controlled directionally by weight-shift, as with traditional non-motorised hang gliders. Popular since the 1980s, these microlights have a very good reputation for allowing safe, accessible and inexpensive flying.
The airfield and facilities of Rode Kite Club, Prelog © Jakov Balent / Zmajarski klub Rode
The Rode Kite Club (Zmajarski klub Rode) from Prelog has a similarly well-established record for safety. They have their own airfield, which is pristinely maintained, and which welcomes a broad section of Cakovec County and Varazdin County community members to its activities and events, including many families and young people. As well as motorised hang gliding and microlights, over recent years the club has accommodated drone enthusiasts and hosted some light aircraft. It also welcomes enthusiasts of motorised model cars, planes and boats. It sits next to the waters that form a natural barrier between Cakovec County and Varazdin County.