Airport Official in Dubrovnik Kills Himself

From Associated Press

The airport maintenance chief whose navigation system was guiding Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown’s plane when it crashed has committed suicide, authorities said Sunday.

Niko Junic, 46, killed himself at his home Saturday, said police and U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Ray Shepherd, a spokesman for Brig. Gen. Charles Coolidge, who is investigating the accident.

U.S. and Croatian authorities declined to comment on any connection between the suicide and Wednesday’s crash, which killed Brown and all 34 others aboard. Croatia’s aviation inspector has said all navigational instruments at Dubrovnik’s Cilipi Airport were operating normally when the T-43 hit a hilltop as it came in for a landing.


The suicide “doesn’t change our procedure,” Shepherd said. “The investigation will continue as planned.

“There are a number of things we do, including checking the navigation system,” he said. “In fact, this guy would have been part of our investigation.”

Police refused to release any details of the suicide.

Tom Haueter, an investigator from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, said searchers have recovered a few of the plane’s instruments in “fairly good shape, and that will help.”

But he added, “Obviously, we’re constrained in that we don’t have a flight data recorder.”

The military version of a Boeing 737 was en route from Tuzla in Bosnia. Brown’s delegation was looking into business and investment possibilities in the country.