Stevo Pendarovski insisted that there is no fault on his part for the refusal to send a helicopter to evacuate a badly injured shepherd from a village near Kratovo. The incident is causing outrage, as it comes only days after Prime Minister Zaev and Healthcare Minister Venko Filipce took a police helicopter for a joy ride from Skopje to Prilep.
A medical team had to carry the badly hypothermic shepherd for five hours over remote, rugged terrain until they reached their vehicle, after they were denied assistance from the police, local authorities and the Crisis Management Center. Under the Constitution, Pendarovski is supreme commander of the army which, like the Interior Ministry, can assist with helicopter evacuations when necessary.
The Army did not receive a request for this. I was surprised when I saw the media reports about the incident, this is a tragic story for our country. They sought help from the municipality and the municipal office of the crisis center. The Army has often helped in such instances, but this time I didn’t see the request, Pendarovski said. In reality, multiple calls were made both to the police and Army, but they refused to assist.
Previously, Deputy Prime Minister Nikola Dimitrov also criticized the authorities for not providing helicopter assistance.