The body of a Phantom fighter jet pilot has been found and a second co-pilot was still missing after a crash in the Ionian Sea on Monday during a training exercise.
Greek state media reported that a two-seater F-4 jet was conducting a training exercise when it crashed 25 nautical miles south of the airport of Andravida in the Peloponnese peninsula.
Media outlets speculated that the two young pilots failed to eject in time just before the plane went down
Media outlets speculated that the two young pilots failed to eject in time just before the plane went down. Additional reports said the duo had asked the control tower to use the automatic abandonment system but full details were not immediately known.
The dead pilot was identified as 29-year-old Lieutenant Commander Marios Michail Toutoutsikas, while a search mission for his squadron leader, 31-year-old Captain Efstathios Tsilakides was still ongoing.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis sent his “sincerest condolences to the family” of the Hellenic Air Force pilot who lost his life, adding “our homeland will never forget him.”
“It is a tragic accident that happened in the line of duty and under extremely demanding training conditions. 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,” Mitsotakis said.
Greece first acquired American-made Phantom fighter jets in 1974.