31-year-old pilot, Major Stathis Tsitlakidis, has been found dead two days after the F-4 Phantom fighter jet he was flying crashed in the Ionian Sea in western Greece on Monday.
The two-seater fighter jet crashed in the sea during a training exercise and the body of the co-pilot, 29-year-old, Lieutenant Marios Touroutsikas, was located shortly afterward.
The search for Maj. Tsitlakidis continued for days, involving helicopters, patrol boats, navy divers and an unmanned submersible.
But according to a statement from the Hellenic Air Force, analysis of evidence from the crash site confirmed that Maj. Tsitlakidis died in the accident.
Greek authorities are still investigating the cause of the crash. The airmen had reportedly issued a distress signal and were in the process of abandoning the aircraft when it went down.
“The news of the loss of Maj. Tsitlakidis has compounded our national grief. The Air Force and all of Greece are in mourning and we honour them,” Mitsotakis wrote on Twitter.
The funeral of Lt. Touroutsikas will be held at the Profitis Ilias Church at 10.30am in the Greek city of Tripoli on Thursday. The pilot will be buried at the Agios Ioannis Pikerniou cemetery later that day.
Mitsotakis and Greece’s President Katerina Sakellaropoulou are expected to travel to Tripoli on Thursday morning to attend the funeral.