A search-and-rescue operation to locate the missing pilot of a fallen Greek airforce F-4 jet fighter continued on Tuesday, entering its second day.
The plane crashed into the sea off the coast of Katakolo, Ilia on Monday morning, during a training exercise.
Captain Efstathios Tsitlakidis, 31, was flying the F-4 Phantom when it crashed while practicing low-altitude flying during an exercise that began at the Andravida air base in the northwestern Peloponnese.
His co-pilot, Marios Touroutsikas, 29, was confirmed dead after his body was recovered from the aircraft’s wreckage around noon on Monday.
Pilots of the Greek fighter jet “issued a distress signal”
The airmen had reportedly issued a distress signal and were in the process of abandoning the aircraft when it went down.
Two divers of the mobile team for the maintenance of submarines and marine facilities from the 206 Air Infrastructure Wing and three divers from the 31 Search and Rescue Operations Squadron are operating in the vicinity, with the assistance of a robot submarine that can reach depths of up to 100 meters.
In addition to a Hellenic Navy S-70 helicopter and a Super Puma that can also operate at night, an Agusta Bell helicopter joined the search and rescue operation at first light.
National Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos announced a three-day period of mourning in the country’s armed forces on Monday.
“While the search for the Captain continues, we express our sadness and grief at the loss of the co-pilot after the fighter jet crashed during a training activity in Andravida. Our thoughts are with the family of the Flying Officer, to whom we express our sympathy and sincere condolences,” Panagiotopoulos noted.