Search for missing pilot in F-4 crash continues for third day

Search for missing pilot in F-4 crash continues for third day

A search-and-rescue operation continued for a third day Wednesday for a Hellenic Air Force officer who has been missing since the fighter jet he was flying went down over the Ionian Sea in western Greece. 

Search-and-rescue operations cease after 72 hours as per standard procedure. However, there have been exceptions with some missions being given up to 48-hour extension.

An underwater drone has joined the fleet of rescue vessels, officials said.

Captain Efstathios Tsitlakidis, 31, was flying the F-4 Phantom when it crashed while practicing low-altitude flying during a training exercise that began at the Andravida air base in the northwestern Peloponnese Monday.

His co-pilot, Marios Touroutsikas, 29, was confirmed dead after his body was recovered from the aircraft’s wreckage around noon Monday.

The airmen had reportedly issued a distress signal and were in the process of abandoning the aircraft when it went down.

Greece first acquired the US-made F-4, or Phantom fighter jets, in 1974.

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