Hellenic Coast Guard, partners respond to fatal aircraft crash in Ionian Sea

A Hellenic Coast Guard patrol boat (Photo: Hellenic Coast Guard; representative image only)

The Hellenic Coast Guard and various local partners have deployed vessels as part of a search and recovery effort following a fatal aircraft crash in the Ionian Sea off Greece’s western coast earlier this week.

Rescue boats from the coast guard and other agencies were despatched to an area off the Peloponnese peninsula shortly after a Hellenic Air Force F-4E Phantom jet fighter aircraft crashed in those same waters on Monday, January 29.

The two-seat aircraft was participating in a training exercise at low altitude when it descended and impacted the surface at around 10:30 local time. A local fisherman who witnessed the incident said the pilot and the backseat co-pilot were both unable to eject.

On Tuesday, January 30, local media reported that marine rescue teams have found the deceased co-pilot while the search for the pilot is still ongoing.

Confirmed debris from the aircraft was also found near the reported crash site some eight nautical miles off the port of Katakolo.

The same fisherman who witnessed the crash said he believes the aircraft itself has settled to a depth of 800 metres.

Reports state that kerosene has also been detected on the surface in the same area. However, it is not yet confirmed whether the kerosene had leaked from the ill-fated aircraft.

CNN Greece said the Hellenic Navy is set to deploy one of its sonar-equipped oceanographic survey vessels to attempt to locate the aircraft’s fuselage on the seabed as part of the investigation into the crash.

The Hellenic National Defence General Staff said that the United States has offered to assist in any underwater search effort.

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