Three days of mourning declared over death of two Greek pilots in Spain

The Greek armed forces will observe three days of mourning following the death on Monday of two Hellenic Air Force pilots whose F-16 fighter jet crashed during NATO-led exercises in southeastern Spain, killing another eight personnel and injuring at least 13.

The identities of the dead pilots were confirmed on Tuesday. They are Panagiotis Laskaris, 35, and Athanasios Zangas, 31. Both were experienced pilots with over 1,000 hours of flight-time.

Another eight NATO staff also lost their lives when the F-16 came down on at the Los Llanos base. The BBC has identified them as being French.

The exact reasons for the accident remained unclear but reports indicated that the jet lost power abruptly during takeoff.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said he was “deeply saddened by the crash,” calling the incident “a tragedy that affects the whole NATO family. I express my heartfelt condolences to the loved ones and the nations of those who lost their lives, and I wish a speedy recovery to the injured.”