Greek fighter jet crashes in sea after patrol, pilot killed


—File photo

ATHENS, Greece: A Greek air force fighter jet has crashed into the Aegean Sea after returning from a patrol, killing the pilot, Defense Ministry officials said.

The officials said the single-seat Mirage 2000-5 crashed Thursday north of the island of Skyros, in the central Aegean. They gave no information about the possible cause of the crash.

Patrolling has intensified in recent weeks amid a spike in tensions between Greece and Turkey and near-daily interceptions and mock dogfights in disputed airspace around Greek islands facing Turkey’s coastline.

The pilot’s death was announced by Defense Minister Panos Kammenos after Greek navy ships and army helicopters had taken part in the search for the pilot.

“A Greek pilot joins the pantheon of heroes. He fell in the defense of our national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Kammenos said in a message posted on Twitter.—AP