Desertion of 4 March 1997

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Desertion of 4 March 1997 (Albanian: Dezertimi i 4 Marsit 1997) was the desertion of two Albanian Air Force pilots, Agron Dajçi and Ardian Elezi, to Italy. The incident caused a diplomatic scandal and increased stress between the rebels and the government.

The event[edit]

On 4 March 1997, at 15:30, two pilots of the Regiment from 4020 to Rinas airport took off and head towards the south of the country. During their return flight to Italy they decided to land at the Air Base Galattina of Lecce, in southern Italy. They manage to escape radar, by flying their plane 15 meters from sea level and were only detected when Italian forces down. The government later demanded the repatriation of two deserters.

Assumptions on event[edit]

The pilots said they were ordered by the government to strike Mifol Bridge, connecting with Fier Vlore, in order to isolate the insurgency. Not wanting to hit civilians, they fled to Italy. But the fact that the aircraft did not spotted by radar, even though a plane is weak and difficult to be piloted at low altitude, suggests that the evacuation plan was parapregatitur Italy and not a spur of the moment idea as the pilots say.