One pilot dead, another missing after Greek fighter jet crashes in Ionian Sea

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One of the two pilots aboard the Hellenic Air Force’s F-4 “Phantom” fighter jet that crashed in the Ionian Sea on Monday has been found dead. He was 29 years old.

According to AMNA.gr, the search continues for the plane’s 31-year-old Flight Lieutenant pilot.

The two-seater fighter jet of the 338 Squadron of the 117 Combat Wing was carrying out a training flight when it crashed into the sea 25 miles south of the Andravida airport on Monday morning.

Two Hellenic Air Force AB-205 helicopters, one Hellenic Navy S-70 helicopter and several Coast Guard vessels immediately launched a search operation.

Later on Monday, Greece’s National Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos announced a three-day period of mourning in the country’s armed forces.

“While the search for the Flight Lieutenant continues, we express our sadness and grief at the loss of the co-pilot after the fighter jet crashed during a training activity in Andravida,” Panagiotopoulos said.

“Our thoughts are with the family of the Flying Officer, to whom we express our sympathy and sincere condolences.”

Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias also expressed their condolences in separate statements. Main opposition party SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance and its leader, Alexis Tsipras, also offered condolences.

In his statement on Twitter, Greece’s Prime Minister said: “Our homeland will never forget him.”

“It is a tragic accident that happened in the line of duty and under extremely demanding training conditions,” Mitsotakis added.

“It brings grief to the whole Hellenic Air Force and reminds us all how tough and dangerous the battle our pilots give every day to defend our homeland’s skies.”

Source: AMNA.gr.

READ MORE: First two upgraded F-16 Viper fighter jets arrive in Greece.

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