A French airman who suffered serious burns in the crash of a Greek F-16 yesterday has died at a hospital, bringing the total number of lives lost in the incident to 11. Eight U.S. airmen suffered minor injuries and one F-15E Strike Eagle was damaged when the Greek jet crashed into a section of tarmac where other allied aircraft were parked.
A Lockheed-Martin F-16D Fighting Falcon of the Hellenic Air Force crashed yesterday afternoon at Los Llanos Air Base near the city of Albacete, located in southeastern Spain. The Viper was reportedly taking off for a training mission during a NATO exercise and crashed when it appeared to lose power. The Block 52 F-16 in question, according to the Hellenic Air Force, had a total of 4056 flying hours and was delivered from Lockheed-Martin in 1997.
Eighty airmen and three Strike Eagles from the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath are forward-deployed for the Tactical Leadership Programme, which aims to improve cooperative efforts in combined air operations. The exercise hosted at Los Llanos has approximately 750 participants, including aircrew, maintenance, and support personnel from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Denmark and Greece.
“The Tactical Leadership Programme develops the very best of our NATO partners…in the air and on the ground,” says Colonel Robert Novotny, 48th Fighter Wing Commander. “We are very fortunate to participate in this critical training exercise as we work to strengthen our alliance. This is a sad day for our teammates.”
(Featured Photo © Elmer van Hest)