Memorie.al publishes the unknown story of aviator Bego Hoxha, originally from the village of Tërbaç in Vlora, who tragically lost his life on March 7, 1974, while conducting an exercise with his plane, who lost control of between dense clouds and fell to the ground, at the mouth of the river Math, where his body was scorched by the flames. The testimony of the veteran aviator, Serafin Shegani, who was with him until the last moments and tells how his friend and colleague lost his life, as well as the honor paid to his fellow aviators who went to accompany him to his last apartment in the village of his birth, where the epitaph on his grave, was written by his close friend, the well-known writer, Ismail Kadare.
“On March 7, 1974, I took to the air with my colleague, Bego Hoxha, to check the time. The aerodrome was open and very soon his plane flew over the clouds. Bego, sitting to pilot the plane, was extremely meticulous in the air, and cleverly used radio technical tools in determining the location of the plane. The flight was being carried out completely over the clouds and the conditions were suitable for completing the task. The training started normally and Bego performed the flight with the fighter plane without any deviation. With the same plane took off for the second time and the flight would go normally. His last report was: “I pierced the clouds in the gorge of Matt’s spill”. After coming out of the clouds, he detached himself from piloting the plane with instruments and did not count that there were broken pieces of clouds below. He fell into the cloud unprepared and lost control of the plane crashing to the ground. I immediately went to the scene and saw my colleague and friend, Bego Hoxha, with his body burned by the flames. “Even during those moments, he was holding his head up towards the clouds”, remembers with longing the veteran of the Albanian Air Force, Serafin Shegani, originally from Pogradec, regarding the tragic accident of the pilot Bego Hoxha in the beginning of the spring of 1974. Who was Bego Hoxha and how did the tragic air accident that took the life of the talented 31-year-old pilot from Tërbaçi of Vlora happen?!
Who was Bego Isa Hoxha?
Bego Hoxha was born in 1943, in the village of Tërbaç in Vlora, where the Hoxha family was one of the most famous families in that area, since during the war, she joined the ranks of partisan formations. His uncle was the lieutenant general, Vehbi Hoxha, who was also decorated as the “People’s Hero”. After finishing the 7-year school in his hometown, he came to Tirana where he finished the military high school “Skëndërbej” which he finished with high results. Afterwards, Begoja would continue his studies for the Aviation weapon, at the High Aviation School, which together with the Navy, were located on the outskirts of the city of Vlora. He also finished this school with positive results in 1962, and then he would continue the specialization for “Shooting Pilot”, which he would complete in 1965. His former aviation colleagues remember him as a very cultured boy, who in addition to flying, had a passion for books, art, science, and music. He was never satisfied with a little and was constantly eager to learn about everything.
Serafin Shegani: Bego, professional and courageous pilot
One of Bego’s friends and colleagues, the veteran aviator, Serafin Shegani, recounts the experiences of the pilots of the Albanian Air Force, their professionalism, and the tasks they performed, taking on often dangerous situations, which were on the verge of the incredible. In this regard, he states: “Successful completion of tasks paved the way for the use of technology of the time, which would reach its peak in the 1970s-’80s. During these exercises, high results were achieved, both in shooting accuracy and in capturing targets above and below the clouds, day and night flights, etc. Many do not believe that, despite the fact that our military aircraft did not have infrared equipment to shoot and bomb at night, our pilots, intuitively, visually plunged into the dive and over the heavy fire in the range, shooting and bombing! And when Israeli pilots during the war with Egypt, performed a maximum of 8 flights a day, our air force staff, experienced the same number of flights a day in peacetime. What is more important is that in the ‘80s, over 80 percent of these cadres, were trained militarily in Albania, taking as a tradition the previous experience, that of the glorious generation that founded the weapon of the Aviation Aviation. Begoja was one of these professionals and courageous that our aviation had the great fortune to have in its ranks “, recalls the veteran of the Albanian military aviation Serafin Shegani.
The tragic event …!
How did the tragic event that took the life of 31-year-old pilot Bego Isa Hoxha happen? In this regard, Serafin Shegani recalls, among other things: to be tested to obtain the second class of qualification. “Among these pilots was Bego Hoxha, for whom that day would be fatal”, Serafini remembers. He adds: “On March 7, 1974, I took to the air with Begon to check the time. The aerodrome was open and very soon his plane flew over the clouds. Bego, sitting to pilot the plane, was extremely meticulous in the air, and cleverly used radio technical tools in determining the location of the plane. The flight was being carried out completely over the clouds and the conditions were suitable for completing the task. The training started normally and Bego performed the flight with the fighter plane without any deviation. With the same plane took off for the second time and the flight would go normally. His last report was: “I pierced the clouds in the gorge of Matt’s spill”. After coming out of the clouds he detached himself from piloting the plane with instruments and did not count that there were fragments of detached clouds below. It fell into the cloud unprepared and lost control of the plane crashing to the ground. I immediately went to the scene and saw my colleague and friend, Bego Hoxha, with his body burnt by the flames. “Even during those moments, he was holding his head up towards the clouds”, Serafin Shegani remembers with emotion, the tragic event of March 7, 1974, where his colleague Bego Isa Hoxha lost his life.
Bego escort to Tërbaç
How was the heroic act of Bego Hoxha evaluated by his fellow aviators and how was his body conveyed with honors to Tërbaç? Regarding this fact, Serafin Shegani recalls: “All the friends and colleagues of Bego, we spent that night in the house of Isa Hoxha, among all the thugs who had filled the house full. The next day the rain had started and it seemed as if time was shedding tears for Begon, who fell in the flowers of youth, leaving his wife and two small children. Friends who at the aerodrome had come with tears in their eyes and had given me to read the farewell word before the funeral. Those words are deeply ingrained in my memory and I will never forget them. In the epitaph of Bego’s grave, verses were engraved by his friend, the famous writer Ismail Kadare, in which it was written, “Raise your eyes, from that black hole, he is no longer there, he looks at his friends’ planes through the clouds in their hips he plays, the light of the sun, where is his smile, there you have it ”.
Today, we, Bego’s friends, are with his children and we raise Bego next to him, to bury him with honors in the “Martyrs of the Nation” Cemetery. Bego, led by Commander Niko Hoxha, the aviation veteran who for years trained and educated dozens of generations of aviators, and who at the age of 40, flying and shooting down a plane, gave his life in charge. For the ribs is the talented aviator from Mallakastra, Hazbi Serani, who in training during the shooting, exploded shells, taking his life. On the other side is the other mallakastriot, Luto Sadiku, who could not get up with “MIG-21”, because his engine was blocked! There are Dibrani, Sabri Toçi and Armando Gjoka, who gave their lives, trying to get the plane out of truela. There is Idriz Hoxha, Sefedin Tomçini, and the 33 aviators who remained immortal in eternity “, Serafin Shegani remembers with longing, for his former colleague Bego Hoxha and for the other pilots, who would be buried with honors in the ceremony held at the Martyrs of the Nation./Memorie.al