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The end of a hard and heroic service

Hungarian rescue team returns from Libya aboard HDF aircraft

Text: Eszter Bányász | Photo: Sztaniszláv Horváth |  14:45 September 25, 2023

After ten days, the Hungarian rescue team – put together to help the victims of the Libya flooding – returned home aboard an Airbus A319 transport plane of the Hungarian Defence Forces, landing at Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport on the night of 24 September.


Augmented with three dogs, the 37-man rescue team was composed of three soldiers of the HDF Medical Centre, as well as the experts of the Pest County Search and Rescue Service, the Budapest Ambulance Organization and the Inter Rescue Hungarian Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Team. On 14 September, the team had also been transported aboard a HDF aircraft to Libya, where the downpour of a storm had triggered the collapse of a dam separating the port town of Derna from the sea, causing the death of more than 15,000 people.


“When we received a call for help from the Libyan authorities, we, on behalf of the Hungary Helps Program, immediately got in touch with the Hungarian civil search and rescue organizations that had already been deployed during the Turkish earthquake as well. Three of them undertook the long and tiring journey”, said Azbej Tristan, State Secretary for the Aid of Persecuted Christians at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. “During the past few days, they undertook a very hard and heroic service, a work that other rescue teams were unable to do”, he emphasized, adding that their primary task was to recover the bodies of the deceased.


Captain Péter Dobránsky, an instructor pilot of the HDF 101st Aviation Wing was the one who transported the rescue team to the spot and back home. He emphasized that since the Hungarian Defence Forces have possessed the two Airbus 319 aircraft, in all cases the airlift squadron of the unit performs tasks like this, which is at once a result of their excellent cooperation with other organizations.