Hellenic Defence Chief pays tribute to fallen air force lieutenant, Nikolaos Sialmas

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The Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff, Konstantinos Floros, paid tribute to fallen airman Nikolaos Sialmas on Thursday, commemorating 29 years since his death on June 18, 1992.

The lieutenant crashed in his Greek Mirage jetfighter while trying to intercept a pair of Turkish jets that allegedly entered Greek airspace. Greece blamed Turkey at the time, saying its fighter jets ″were in violation of national airspace and international flight principles of civil aviation.″

Recognising the tragic nature of his death, the Chief himself flew over a monument on the northeastern Aegean island of Agios Efstratios erected in honour of Sialmas. Floros participated in the flight with the Chief of Tactical Aviation, Lieutenant General (I) Themistoklis Bourolias, flying a pair of F-16s, in the North, Central and Eastern Aegean.

Floros ended his flight on Skyros, where he congratulated the officers and members of the Hellenic Air Force for their work. 

At the time of the accident, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said ″the accident was caused by Turkey’s persistence in continuing its provocative tactic″ of entering airspace that Greece considers its own.

Turkey had denied responsibility. ″It’s their own fault, not ours,″ the Turkish Premier was quoted as saying.

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