Efforts by the authorities to locate 31-year-old Squadron Leader Efstathios Tsitlakidis, the pilot of the Phantom F-4 of the Air Force that crashed in a sea area south of Andravida, are frantic.
Earlier, as emerged from an announcement by the General Air Staff, the 29-year-old Lieutenant Commander (I) Marios – Michael Turoutsikas was found dead.
The announcement of the GEA:
“On Monday, January 30, 2023, at 10:30 a.m., a two-seater F-4 Phantom II aircraft of the 338th Squadron of the 117th Fighter Wing, which was performing a training flight, crashed into the sea area 25 nautical miles south of Andravidas airport, resulting in the fatal injury of the co-pilot , Sub-Commander (I) Marios – Michael Turoutsikas, 29 years old. Investigations are continuing for the captain, Sminagos (I) Efstathios Tsitlakidis, 31 years old.”
Struggle for the governor, what his brother says at Protothema.gr
A man with at least 10 years of experience and thousands of flight hours, is the 31-year-old Squadron Leader Efstathios Tsitlakidis. “My brother is missing, times are difficult” are the first words of the brother of Efstathios Tsitlakidis, in protothema.gr who adds with a trembling voice: “I last spoke with my brother, late last night and this morning I learn that he is missing. We have no other information. My brother is experienced, he has been in this job for over ten years, you understand that times are difficult…” the brother of the missing Tsitlakidis tells protothema.gr.
According to the latest information from protothema.gr, the two pilots of the Phantom F-4 did not have time to leave the aircraft that crashed into the sea. According to the same information, F-4 operators made “low cruise” a term meaning low flight with a minimum of 300 feet. The depth, on the other hand, at the point of the fall of the fall of the F-4 is 1,000 meters.
Three-day military mourning by decision of the Ministry of Health
The Minister of National Defense Nikos Panagiotopoulos announced three days of mourning in the Armed Forces, after the crash of the F-4 Phantom in Andravida.
“While the search for the captain continues, we express our sadness and pain for the loss of the co-pilot after the crash of a fighter aircraft during a training activity in Andravida” said the Minister of National Defense.
By order of the Minister of National Defense, Mr. Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, a three-day military mourning period is declared in the Armed Forces, from today until February 2, 2023, after the tragic event that occurred in the morning, as a result of which Major General (I) Marios – Michael lost his life Turutsikas.
Regarding the crash of the F-4E Phantom II fighter jet, the Minister of National Defense said: “While the search for the pilot continues, we express our sadness and pain for the loss of the co-pilot after the fighter jet crashed during the during an educational activity in Andravida. Our thoughts are with the family of the Flight Lieutenant, to whom we express our sympathy and sincere condolences.».
Meanwhile, at the pier of the port of Katakolo, they were transported by vessels of the Coast Guard the first debris from the F-4 Phantom where fell into the sea this morning.
Since the morning, the large search operation in the sea area of Katakolo has been in full progress. Here are photos from patrisnews:
It is recalled that as he wrote the protothema.grthe F-4 operators who they did not have time to abandon it, were performing “low navigation”, flight that is, with a minimum of 300 feet. They are an Air Force captain and a lieutenant colonel who were the two pilots of the 338 Squadron Phantom.
The first photos of the F-4 wreckage:
The Deputy Minister of National Defense Nikos Hardalias, present at the Plenary Session of the Parliament in the context of the parliamentary audit, referred to the downing of the fighter aircraft, expressing the hope that the search for the identification and rescue of the two pilots would have a positive outcome. “It is an extremely difficult day for a family of the Armed Forces and for the whole country. A gigantic search and rescue operation is underway and our thoughts, wishes and prayers are with our pilots and their families. I hope that soon the investigations will be completed with a positive occupation” he said characteristically.
It should be noted that the second Phantom with which the F-4 that crashed was exercising, was found over the area of the accident and participated in the initial investigations but left as its fuel ran out.
Watch videos of the search for the F-4 and its two pilots:
Investigations are ongoing
It is recalled that the F-4 belonged to the 338th Squadron of the 117th Fighter Wing and was performing a training flight.
Air and sea vehicles of both the Air Force and the Navy, as well as the Coast Guard, are participating in the investigations. In particular, the following participate: 2 AB-205 aircraft of the Air Force and 1 Navy S-70 aircraft of the Coast Guard. A C-130 aircraft is also on maximum alert.
According to information, the spot where the aircraft from the 338th Bombardment Fighter Squadron, based in the 117th Fighter Wing at the Andravida air base, fell, is 1,000 meters deep.
It is noted that during the handover ceremony of the Command of the 3rd Army Corps/NRDC-GR, the accident was reported by the A/GE, Lt. Gen. Angelos Houdeloudis, who was present at the change of baton of the Formation from Lt. Gen. Sotirios Kostakoglou to the new Commander of the C ‘ of the Army Corps and NRDC-GR, Paris Capravello.
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