A MEMBER of Spain ́s equivalent to the British Red Arrows died when his plane crashed into the sea off the coast of the Mar Menor last Thursday (February 27). Commander Eduardo Garvalena Crespo, aged 38, was part of the Patrulla Aguila (Eagle Patrol) air display team based locally at the San Javier Air Academy. He was unable to eject himself from the plane before it hit the water, with divers recovering his body the following day. The funeral service took place in San Javier on Saturday. It’s the latest in a series of recent tragedies for the Academy, after a pilot, Francisco Marin, died in August when his plane went down in the same area. The following month, a training instructor and his pupil lost their lives in another sea crash, also off of La Manga.
Eduardo was married with three children, and was flying a C-101 jet that’s used for stunts by the Patrulla Aguila, and was the same type of plane that was piloted by Francisco Marin last summer. The aircraft had been in service for over 30 years with the whole C-101 fleetset to be replaced in the autumn of 2021. He took the plane for a flight last Thursday afternoon, with around 20 people calling the emergency services when they reported seeing it fall into the sea. They said that it had “been doing stunts” before it lost control and crashed. Eduardo had well over two thousand hours of flying time in a distinguished career, and his last international mission was as part of a team to fend off Somali pirates boarding ships that were carrying supplies on behalf of the World Food Programme. Spain’s Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, passed on his condolences to the commander’s family and to his colleagues at San Javier.