How the members of the Crvena Jabuka band died

On the way to Mostar, on September 18, 1986, where they had a scheduled concert, the guys from the group “Crvena jabuka” had a traffic accident near Jablanica in which two members lost their lives.

The group’s bass player, Aljoš Buha, died on the spot, while the singer and one of the group’s founders, Dražen Ričl Zijo, suffered serious injuries and died on October 1, 1986.

Their concert at the Kantarevac stadium in Mostar was announced for a long time, and it was supposed to mark the beginning of the young band’s ambitious tour.

Back in 1989, Dražen Ričla’s mother gave an interview to the magazine Čao in which she recalled that event.

Žera informed me about the accident

When I went to work on September 18, 1986, I had no idea what would happen to me. My Drazen stayed asleep. When I came back, I read the message. I went to town to buy something.

As soon as I entered the house, the phone rang. It was around 11 in the evening. Žera called me and sheepishly said: “Aunt Elvira, this is Žera. I’m calling you from Mostar.”

And now I, not suspecting anything – that there could be something bad – to his: “What happened? Did you have an argument there in Mostar, so you won’t come home?”

Then there was a small pause, and Žera said to me quietly: “Well, Aunt Elvira, have you heard about this accident?”

I straighten up a bit and tell him that I didn’t hear anything. Then he said contritely and sadly that I could hardly hear him: “It was an accident, Aljoša died, and Zlaja and Dražen are in Mostar, in the hospital.”

Then I immediately called my brother and my director, Dr. Djokovic as well. He quickly called his colleagues at the Mostar hospital. They told him that Zlajo was slightly injured, and that my Dražen had serious and very serious injuries.

We immediately got ready and went to Mostar. We were there at four in the morning. We were received by the doctor on duty, an extremely good woman, who also offered us her bed – to rest a little. She told us that she had never, in her practice or in her life in general, seen that: “The whole of Mostar was there. People came to donate blood. It must have been one o’clock in the morning, when those young people dispersed.”

That’s what the doctor said. When I entered the room to see my Drazen, he did not know himself. He was already in intensive care. Zlaja was not. I think he was transferred home the very next day. However, I stayed in Mostar. That’s when everyone from Jabuka showed that they really are true friends and – they helped me as only true friends can. Dražena should have been transferred to the VMA in Belgrade as soon as possible. Žera was very involved there.

They sent a helicopter to Mostar. I will never forget it. There was a terrible storm over Mostar. Strong wind was blowing. Due to the surrounding mountains, it looked as if the Veleža stadium was in some big pot.

We were waiting for the rescue helicopter. I silently looked at that terrible sky and waited. However, someone came and told me that the helicopter had returned because it could not land. Something pierced my chest painfully. Oh my God! I quickly went to the phone, because I was in constant contact with Žera, and said to him: ‘Zera, dear, what are we going to do? The helicopter can’t land?!’

Then he said to me: ‘We already know that, Aunt Elvira, don’t worry! We have already sent the plane!’

Then we went to the airport. We told the hospital to prepare my Drazen. When the plane landed, they guarded me in front of the airport building, so that I wouldn’t run in front of the plane.

(She stopped. She sighed deeply and wiped away her tears. Then she continued quietly… )

I only saw the ambulance and the stretcher on which my Dražen was, covered with a sheet. My brother and the doctor got on the plane with him. It was Friday night. I returned to Sarajevo.

On Monday, I went to see Zlaja, because he was at home. I thought about everything. I realized that, in that whole accident, this Fico was probably to blame – because he was, as I was told later, old and unsteady.

When that happened, the seat literally fell on Zlaj and covered him. It hit him on the nose, and he only had those injuries. Afterwards, they fixed something for him in maxillofacial surgery, but he quickly came to his senses, as if nothing had happened…

Sarajevo moved to Bare

There were 10,000 people from Sarajevo at my Dražen’s funeral. I wasn’t even aware of that. They told me that later, that they left the cemetery for hours and hours. All night, thousands of young people sat and cried next to the mound of my Dražen. My Dražen deserved that because everyone really loved him immensely.

His classmate told me when she came to see me after the funeral: ‘Dražen was such a child who had to be loved.’

Well, Dražen himself achieved all that popularity, loyalty, that touching love of so many thousands of young people – with his appearance, his behavior, his cheerfulness and kindness…

I can only tell you: spring brought him, autumn took him away. His life was short. But, I think that – for his age – he achieved much more than anyone else would in a longer, double life. His life was really meaningful…”

The group’s bassist, who died on the spot, Aljoša Buha, was born on January 4, 1962, in Zenica. He lived and grew up in the same building as another member of the group, Darko Jelčić Cunja. They were like brothers. He was engaged in playing and writing.

“Crvena jabuka” was founded in Sarajevo in 1985 and already with the first album, which had the same name as the group, they immediately became a success. Their music was inspired by “Beatles” and “Indexes” and quickly found its way to the audience, and the group still fills halls in cities throughout the former republic.


Bonus video:


CRVENA JABUKA HELD TWO CONCERTS: The group performed in front of the Belgrade audience after 2 years



The article is in Serbian

Tags: members Crvena Jabuka band died

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