The Hellenic Air Force announced the name of the pilot who died when his Mirage 2000-5 fighter jet crashed in the sea off the island of Skyros on Thursday.
The jet piloted by Georgios Baltadoros, born in 1984, who was married with children, crashed at sea 9 nautical miles northeast of Syros in the Aegean Sea.
The Air Force’s full statement reads as follows:
“On Thursday, April 12, 2018 at 12:15, a single-seat aircraft M2000-5 of the 114th Combat Wing and 331st Squadron, crashed in the sea while approaching landing, following an operational mission, at a distance of nine nautical miles northeast of the island of Skyros, leading to the fatal injury of the aircraft’s pilot, flight lieutenant Georgios Baltadoros. A relevant commission has been drawn to investigate the accident.”
Statements by Defence minister
The pilot who was “joined the pantheon of heroes,” Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos said in a tweet posted on Thursday afternoon.
“He fell for faith and country, fighting to defend National sovereignty and our territorial integrity. The country bows in mourning. Deepest condolences to his family and all Hellenic Air Force personnel,” Kammenos wrote.
Earlier, Greek authorities had launched a rescue operation to locate the pilot after the M2000-5 disappeared from the radar at 12:15, while flying nine nautical miles northeast of Skyros. Participating in the operation were military helicopters, a C-130 military transport aircraft, a frigate and a vessel sailing nearby.
The missing aircraft, along with another of the same type, were returning to Skyros after intercepting Turkish aircraft in the Aegean.