NEWS

Two pilots die as F-4 hits peak

The two crew members of an F-4 fighter jet died yesterday morning when their plane hit a mountain top in Evia during a training mission. A rescue crew found the Phantom’s debris and the men’s remains nine hours after the crash, after a US C-130 plane with metal detecting equipment located the wreckage in clouds, 1,700 meters up on Mount Dirfy. The deceased are Capt Kyriakos Karakitsios, 31, and Lt Dimitris Costopoulos, 29. They had set off with their squadron from the central city of Larissa and swung out east over Skyros before heading for a simulated attack on the major air base of Tanagra, north of Athens. When the squadron leader saw dense cloud over Evia, a mountainous island just off the mainland, he ordered the other plane to fall in behind him and to climb. The leader cleared the peaks but realized he had lost contact with the other plane. Immediately, search parties and a helicopter set out. At 6 p.m., after the C-130 located the debris, searchers reached the site. This is the year’s first fatal air force crash. An inquiry is being held.