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11 Mar, 2022 09:02

Police find parachutes near mystery crash site

An unidentified object crashed near a Zagreb park overnight
Police find parachutes near mystery crash site

Police in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, have confirmed the discovery of two parachutes near a park where a mysterious object crashed on Thursday night. No injuries on the ground were reported.

The police said they had begun to receive reports about an incident in the Jarun neighborhood, in southwestern Zagreb, from 11pm local time. Citizens had alerted the authorities about an object falling from the air and crashing to the ground.

On arriving at the scene, the police found a 3m-wide (10ft-wide) crater embedded with debris. Two parachutes were discovered during a search of the wider area.

The investigation continues, with the authorities urging the public to submit images relevant to the case. A police statement asks the media not to speculate about what has happened and to wait for official updates.

Closeup images circulating on social media show the crater and the debris. Croatian media outlets have circulated photos of the two parachutes at various stages of recovery.

There is widespread speculation in the country that the incident was caused by a crash of a Tu-141 Strizh unmanned aircraft. A Soviet-designed reconnaissance drone, it was developed in the late 1970s and 1980s, and has a range of 1,000km (620 miles).

Local media said witnesses had heard an explosion following the initial impact, and that the debris in the crater was labeled in Cyrillic script and resembled parts of an aircraft engine.

Ukraine, the only nation officially operating Tu-141s, is currently engaged in an effort to fend off a Russian military attack. If the identity of the aircraft is confirmed as Ukrainian, one has to wonder how it found its way to Zagreb. The Croatian capital is well over 500km (300 miles) away from the closest patch of Ukrainian territory, with Hungary in between.