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F-4 crash: Co-pilot found dead, SAR for pilot continues

Two pilots are missing after a two-seat F-4 Phantom fighter jet of the Greek Air Force crashed into the sea during a training flight on Monday morning. A big Search and Rescue operation is underway to locate the pilots as well as the fighter jet.

A statement from the Hellenic Air Force General Staff said the accident occurred at 10.30 a.m. 25 nautical miles south of the Andravida airport base, in north-western Peloponnese.

The F-4 fighter jet had taken off at 10:15 a.m. It belonged to the 338th Squadron of the 117th Fighter Wing and was on a training flight.

According to initial media information, the two F-4 pilots were ordered to use the ejection system.

State broadcaster ERT reported short before 12 0′ clock noon, the pilots ejected with the automatic seats, however, they have not been located yet.

The F-4 Phantom fighter jet was reportedly flying low as it was returning to the airbase when the accident took place. A second F-4 on the same training flight informed the base of the fighter jet’s fall,

Helicopters and boats of the Navy and the Air Force as well as of the Coast Guard are screening the area, while a C-130 is at high alert.

The weather conditions were and are fair in the area.

The causes of the accident are unclear, there is suggestion of a technical problem.

UPDATE 1 p.m.

Some debris has been found around 35 nautical miles south of Andravida, media report.
Earlier reports that the two pilots have ejected are not confirmed yet..
Pictures via
UPDATE 5 p.m.
The co-pilot, First Lieutenant Marios Michail Touroutsikas, 29,was found dead late Monday afternoon, the Air Force General Stab announced.
Still missing is the pilot, Efstathios Tsitlakides, 31n the AFGS added.
Search and Rescue operation in the area continues.
Defense Minister Panagiotopoulos announced 3 days of military mourning.

KTG will keep you updated.

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