AT LEAST 10 people are believed to have died and 13 injured after a Greek F-16 military aircraft crashed at a Spanish airbase in Los Llanos, Albacete this afternoon (January 26).
The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that the plane’s two pilots are among the deceased and Javier Garcia, head of the Spanish Air Force, is on his way to the airbase.
Meanwhile NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: “It’s a tragedy that affects the whole NATO family.”
Cadena Ser reported that at least eight people were seriously wounded with three requiring resuscitation, two in intensive care and many undergoing surgery for amputated limbs.
The Ministry of Defence declared that the plane crashed into parked aircraft after losing power during take-off and authorities were attempting to evaluate the damage while emergency services continued to work in the area.
Witnesses reported that the aircraft was flying at low altitude and crashed into a hangar, and four explosions were then heard on the airbase, which could have been other aircraft catching fire after being hit by the falling plane.
The plane was part of a NATO Tactical Leadership Program based in Albacete, where pilots receive training.
At least 93 military members have lost their lives in air accidents in Spain since 1980. The last fatal accident was registered in June last year when a pilot died near Moron de la Frontera airbase in Sevilla during routine exercises.
Today’s accident is the worst that has happened in Spain involving military aircraft since 1984, when an American Hercules crashed in Zaragoza and the 18 people on board lost their lives.