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Air Force Pilot on training mission dies in T-2 Buckeye crash (UPD)

A pilot of the Greek Air Force died in a crash of a  T-2 Buckeye training aircraft that crashed on Tuesday morning. The co-pilot survived the crash as he managed to eject his seat.

In contrast to initial media reports short after the accident, the pilot had no time to eject himself from the aircraft.

He was reportedly found inside the plane still holding the wheel.

The accident occurred at 8:50 a.m. about 7 nautical miles near the village Kollines north of the city of Sparta in south Peloponnese.

The accident with the two-seat aircraft occurred in the middle of the flight.

The body of the pilot was found two hours later by Search & Rescue teams.

The co-pilot was taken to the hospital of Kalamata, he is reportedly in good health condition.

The aircraft has taken off for the training mission from the 120 Air Force Training Wing in Kalamata.

The reasons for the crash remain for the time being unknown.

According to first estimation, the pilot had lost his life because he either abandoned the aircraft while it was on low flight or he crashed on rocky ground, media reported.

The trainer and the trainee had more than 2,500 flight hours, the trainee had to re-confirm his flight competence.

The seats of T-2 Buckeye eject with a difference of 40 seconds and in different directions.

The first seat to be ejected is the one with the co-pilot, the trainer, who sits in the back seat.

The 39-year-old co-pilot reportedly contacted authorities after he touched the ground.

Defense Minister Panos Kammenos declared a 3-day mourning in Hellenic Air Force for the death of  37-year-old Major Nikolaos Vasiliou, who was also a father of two.

A local from Kollines village told media that they saw the aircraft flying very low over the village. “Right after we heard a loud noise and we saw smoke. We run to the area and we found the one pilot with the parachute.”

At the time of the accident it was raining in the area.

The Hellenic Air Force investigates.

Last January, the pilot and the co-pilot of another T-2 Buckeye from the same 120 Wing had to abandoned the aircraft. Both the trainer and the trainee survived the crash.

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