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On Wednesday, 10 June 23009, a commemorative ceremony on the Okrešelj marked already the twelfth anniversary of the greatest tragedies in the almost hundred year-long history of the Slovenian mountain rescue service.

Twelve years ago, on 10 June 1997, a rock-face rescue exercise was conducted by members of the Mountain Rescue Service, in which also a police helicopter was involved. A confluence of unfortunate circumstance led to the fatal  sequence of events owing to which five trained mountain rescuers lost their lives. Mitja Brajnik, Luka Karničar, Dr Jani Kokalj, Rado Markič and Boris Mlekuž. The accident under TurÅ¡ka gora mountain and the loss of the co-worker Mitja Brajnik also marked the Slovenian police for ever.

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Janko Goršek, Acting Director General of the Police


"To be a mountain rescuer requires a lot from a man. Not only top-level  mental and physical fitness, not only a lot of self-denial, but an extremely strong impulse to help one's fellow man. So strong that at times it is difficult to understand and almost impossible to put into words. The decision for such work often puts the individual's own wishes and interests into the background. The call of duty often pulls them from the warm bed and separates them from the arms of their dearest. Despite that, the mountain rescuer is guided by persistence not to stop until there is still some hope left that the injured or missed person could still be found and safely brought down to the valley. Precisely due to this self-sacrifice, of which only a few are capable in such moments, each accident, especially such a tragic one, opens thousand questions as to why and how such an accident could have happened," emphasised Janko GorÅ¡ek, Acting Director General of the Police.

Mountain rescuing represents one of the most dangerous forms of rescuing because mountain rescuers expose themselves, in rescuing others, highly to dangers usually involved in extreme weather conditions. Unfortunately, these findings are confirmed almost every year when rescuers risk their lives in rescuing others.

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"It's a long established truth that a special link is woven between Slovenes and mountains. Only a few nations could claim that they love their mountains more than we. Unfortunately, we show them sometimes too little respect and underestimate the dangers they hide. In situations that seem to have no way out, a well trained team is of paramount importance. I am pleased that in this team also Slovenian police officers have been taking part already from the year 1968", added the Acting Director General of the police, and on that occasion commended all mountain rescuers, who without any questions respond to a call for help, and thanked them in the name of the whole police.

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Vojko Robnik, Head of the Police Aviation Unit


Vojko Robnik, Head of the Police Aviation Unit, paid tribute to the memory of the mountain rescuers who lost their lives under the Turška gora in 1997. At the same time, he noted that precisely because of the extreme conditions in rescuing, which requires good equipment and top-level fitness, it is important that all those who are involved in rescuing, are well trained for such strenuous and responsible work.

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The police are involved in mountain rescuing already from 1968, when the pilot and physician successfully rescued - with the first Slovenian and first police helicopter AB 47/2A, popularly called Burduš - a seriously injured female mountaineer who was buried under an avalanche under the northern wall of Mojstrovka. The management of police approves each year 50 flight hours for training of the members of the mountain rescue association in helicopter rescuing.

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