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live Three killed in crash of a Greek military helicopter

11 February 2016 / 11:02:04  GRReporter
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Two pilots and one engineer, a mechanic, members of the Greek navy were killed in a crash of a military helicopter. It crashed early Thursday morning on the island of Kinaros, west of Leros, the circumstances of the accident being unclear at present.

The anti-submarine helicopter AB212ASW / EW with three crew members participated in a night exercise for tracking targets of the navy on the sea surface within the contexts of the "Flash 2/16" training.
 
It took off from the "Nikiforos Fokas" frigate and its signal disappeared shortly after 2:45 this morning in the region of Kinaros. According to the mayor of the island of Leros, weather was bad in the region last night because the rain was accompanied by a strong wind. The initial information indicates that during the fall of the helicopter the pilots were unable to activate the tracking system.

Ships, maritime helicopters, aircraft C-130 and a Super Puma helicopter of the Greek military aircraft that participated in the training were sent to the region of the accident. Some of the wreckage of the helicopter was found at 7:30 am on the island of Kinaros.

Minister Panos Kammenos is urgently returning from Brussels, where the NATO defence ministers are holding a meeting.

In a Twitter post, the US Ambassador David Pearce in Athens expressed his condolences to the families and friends of the victims.

An emergency press conference at the Greek Ministry of Defence announced the names of the helicopter crew: Captain-Lieutenant Anastasios Toulitsis, Captain-Lieutenant Konstantinos Pananas and NCO Eleftherios Evangelou.

The Ministry reported that the helicopter crashed on a steep slope and fell into the sea afterwards. Not all parts of the helicopter have been found for the time being and the three crew members are still missing.
 
"You should know that the operation to search for them is taking place under extremely heavy conditions. I cannot yet express condolences to their families," said the Chief of General Staff of the Greek Army.

The first thermal track was detected at 04:40 am by a thermal camera in a rocky area on the island of Kinaros. The first remains of the helicopter were found at 7:01 am and it seems that it had crashed into the rocks and the cockpit had fallen into the sea.

The operation to search for the crew includes the special forces of the military aviation, army paratroopers, the special unit for disaster of the fire service and the members of the diving squad. The seawater depth of the explored area is 50-100 metres and the conditions are complicated by the strong winds.
 
The bodies of two of the three crew members of the helicopter were found shortly after 11:00 am.

 

To be continued

Tags: Crash of a military helicopterKianosislandGreek Ministry of DefenceMilitary training
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