Greece remembers Giorgos Baltadoros, the fighter pilot who died on April 12, 2018 when his Mirage 2000-5 plane crashed into the Aegean after a mission intercepting Turkish jets which had violated Greek airspace.
To honor the fallen hero, the Hellenic Air Force recently installed a Mirage fighter aircraft at Baltadoros’s birthplace of Morfovouni, a picturesque village near the city of Karditsa, Thessaly.
“Four years have passed since the sacrifice of Squadron Leader George Baltadoros. He fell on duty. We do not mourn. We honor him with pride. He identified with the ideals of the Homeland. IMMORTAL!” Greek Minister of Defense Nikos Panagiotopoulos tweeted on Tuesday.
Πέρασαν τέσσερα χρόνια από την θυσία του Σμηναγού Γιώργου Μπαλταδώρου. Έπεσε στο καθήκον. Δεν θρηνούμε. Τον τιμούμε με υπερηφάνεια. Ταυτίστηκε με τα ιδανικά της Πατρίδας.
— N Panagiotopoulos (@npanagioto) April 12, 2022
Baltadoros served in the 331st Squadron, based at Tanagra Air Base about 40 kilometers (26 miles) north of the Greek capital.
Pilot killed northeast of Greece’s island of Skyros
On April 12, 2018, the 34-year-old father of two was ordered to confront the Turkish aircraft that had violated Greek airspace.
The jet piloted by Baltadoros was one of two Mirages that took off from Skyros shortly after 11 a.m. to intercept a pair of Turkish F-16s that had violated Greek airspace in the area between the eastern Aegean islands of Lesvos and Chios.
However, when the pair of Mirages arrived in the area, the Turkish jets had already left and Baltadoros sent out a signal that the F-16s were beyond visual range.
On their return to Skyros, both jets were reportedly flying at a low altitude due to poor visibility on account of cloudy weather and the African sand that was present in the atmosphere.
An alert was sounded after the pilot of the other Mirage said at 12:15 p.m. that he saw Baltadoros’s jet suddenly “dip,” nine nautical miles northeast of Skyros.
His aircraft crashed into the sea as he was approaching Skyros Air Base for landing.
See all the latest news from Greece and the world at Greekreporter.com. Contact our newsroom to report an update or send your story, photos and videos. Follow GR on Google News and subscribe here to our daily email!