October 14, 2004 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Two Greek F-16 Fighting Falcons, each with a crew of two aboard, disappeared from radar screens yesterday at around 3:00 pm. The planes were on a training flight near Pilio mountain, central Greece.
HAF F-16D Block 52 #99-1535 assigned to Edwards AFB flight test center, taxiing. It was later redesignated to #601. [LMTAS
Debris of the two aircraft was found on a slope at Mount Pilio, central Greece
. The crew of both did unfortunately not survive.
By late yesterday, a ground-and-air search in the southern ranges of Mount Pelion had only located the wreckage of one of the two F-16s a couple of kilometers north of the village of Aghios Lavrentios, some 20 kilometers east of Volos.
Despite the thick mist, three military helicopters combed the area for survivors all night.
The two F-16D Block30 jets of the 111th Pteriga Machis /Combat Wing departed from the Nea Anchialos air base around 2:00 pm. They were on a training flight that included simulated interceptions of intruding foreign jets.
An offcial Greek air force statement said the F-16s were on the way back to base when "an ejection signal" came in from the Pelion area at 3:00 pm. An air rescue helicopter took off 15 minutes later, while naval vessels headed for the sea off Pelion. The wreckage was located around 5.15 p.m.
The Greek air force chief of staff was sacked in September, following the crash of a military helicopter that killed the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria and 16 others, including priests and military crew members.
The last Greek F-16 crash
dates from June last year, when an F-16C block 30
crashed into a field near Volos soon after takeoff on a training flight from the military base of Nea Anchialos.