Greece’s armed forces on Wednesday declared three days of mourning on the orders of Defense Minister Panos Kammenos over a helicopter crash earlier in the day that killed four army officers and injured one.
The Huey UH-1H went down north of the town of Elassona in northern Greece during what officials said was a routine border patrol flight.
The Greek president, Parliament’s spokesman and the country’s political leadership expressed their sadness and dismay over the incident.
“The nation and the people express their deepest anguish but also their sincere gratitude to the heroic officers who fell at the altar of defending our national security,” President Prokopis Pavlopoulos said in a statement.
“Today’s loss of four officers of the Greek army in the line of duty is a great sadness to all of us,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said. “To their families I express heartfelt condolences, both personally and on behalf of the government and the Greek people.”
“On behalf of the Parliament of the Hellenic Republic and myself personally, I express my deep sadness and sincere condolences to the families of the officers… I also wish a speedy recovery to Sergeant Vassiliki Plexida,” parliamentary spokesman Nikos Voutsis said, referring to the injured officer.
New Democracy chief Kyriakos Mitsotakis also extended his condolences to the families of the victims and called for an immediate investigation into the causes of the crash. His sentiments were echoed by the leadership of the PASOK socialist party and of the Greek Communist Party.