Kornati Tragedy – Death in Paradise

One of the most spectacular parts of Dalmatian coastline is definitely the Kornati National Park archipelago.
Over 100 islands create a maze of bare, rocky islands, inlets, bays, crystal clear seas, great food, traditional fishing…
A paradise!

However, two years ago, August 30th 2007, a barbecue in a tiny port of Vrulje during a strong southern wind resulted in tragedy. The winds were very strong and, as soon as the grass caught fire, it was almost impossible to stop it. The great fire swallowed one half of the island – mostly grass but some olive and fig trees. Nothing important. The fire was rather small but spreading fast and covering a huge area.
It has been recorded that in the 18th century the Island of Kornat was burning for days when the thunder struck then heavily wooded island. Besides, fire was a good way for cleaning the pastures and helping the new grass grow for their sheep.

A lady in the bay of Šipnate started panicking and called the firefighters in fear that the fire will caught her house. The help was send from Šibenik area and a group of firefighters was divided in two. Group of 11 was dropped near the lady’s house and the rest was taken to the hills. Why? That is still a mystery…

There was not a single reason why to defend the grass on rocky, hard to walk terrain.
But, the fire funneled in a very unique way up the hill and 6 firefighters were killed instantly and other 6 died in Zadar hospital. Some young as 17…

Here are the photos I took that day. Never seen before…

The bay of Šipnate. Fire approaching
The bay of Šipnate. Fire approaching
The helicopter just after leaving the tragic group.
The helicopter just after leaving the tragic group.
The helicopter was accused to have leaked the cerosine...
The helicopter was accused to have leaked the gasoline...
Inlet of Kravljacica.
Inlet of Kravljacica.
The bay of Striznja where we helpped fighting the fire reach the houses
The bay of Striznja where we helped fighting the fire reach the houses
Watching the firefighting plane defending houses in Kravljacica inlet.
Watching the firefighting plane defending houses in Kravljacica inlet.
Advertisements