Authorities say military drone that crashed in Croatia carried ‘air bomb’ – ABC News

A military drone that apparently flew all the way from the Ukrainian war zone over three European NATO-member states before crashing in Croatia was armed with an explosive device, Croatia’s defence minister says.

The Soviet-made aircraft crossed Romania and Hungary before entering Croatia, slamming into a field near a student dormitory in the capital Zagreb late on Thursday.

About 40 parked cars were damaged in the large explosion, but no-one was injured.

“Traces of explosives and clues suggesting that this was not a reconnaissance aircraft were found. We found parts of an air bomb,” Croatian Defence Minister Mario Banozic said at the crash site.

He said it was unclear whether the drone belonged to Russia or Ukraine.

“There are elements that indicated it could have come from both,” he said.

Air crash investigators have pulled most of the drone’s remaining parts from a large crater that it created on impact, including a partly damaged black box that should reveal the drone’s flight path.

Croatian investigators identified the drone as a Soviet-era Tu-141 that was used for reconnaissance missions by the Soviet Union in the 1980s.

NATO criticised for ‘slow reaction’

Croatian officials criticised NATO for what they called a slow reaction to a very serious incident and called into question the readiness of the military alliance’s member states to respond to a possible attack.

NATO said the alliance’s integrated air and missile defence had tracked the object’s flight path.

But Croatian officials said the country’s authorities weren’t informed and that NATO reacted only after questions were posed by journalists.

“If this situation had been detected and resolved in time, in neighbouring countries, we would not be here today,” Mr Banozic said.

“We are waiting for an answer.”