NEWS

Tsipras: 'We lost a great pilot'

TAGS: Politics, Defense

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Thursday paid tribute to the Greek air force pilot who was killed when his Mirage 2000-5 crashed into the central Aegean shortly before landing on the island of Skyros earlier in the day.

Captain Giorgos Baltadoros was piloting one of two Greek jets returning from a mission to intercept Turkish jets in the Aegean when his plane fell some nine miles northeast off the island's coast.

"Today we lost a great Air Force pilot who died in the line of duty," he said in a tweet on the prime minister's account.

"Our pain is great. Our thoughts are with his family and colleagues. On behalf of the Greek State, I express my deep gratitude and my sincere condolences," he added.

Defense ministry sources said earlier they did not believe any hostile activity was involved in the incident, but the cause has not been identified yet.

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