Spanish fighter planes grounded in Estonia as misfired missile probe begins

GROUNDED: Spain’s fighter jets in Estonia will not take off for the foreseeable future GROUNDED: Spain’s fighter jets in Estonia will not take off for the foreseeable future Shutterstock

SPANISH fighter jets stationed in Estonia have had their flights suspended after Spain’s Ministry of Defence and NATO opened probes into the misfiring of a missile there on Tuesday.

Juri Luik, Estonia’s Defence Minister, said the launch of the air-to-air missile from a Spanish Eurofighter was “extremely rare” and “regrettable”.

Luik added the Estonian government’s priority was to guarantee security and continue to work in co-operation with NATO allies.

The incident happened during an exercise with another Spanish Eurofighter and two French Mirage 2000 warplanes, with no damage or injuries caused.

The cause remains unknown but it is suspected to have being accidental, according to Spain’s Ministry of Defence.

Estonian media has speculated as to the location of the missile, with almost 60 people alerting authorities as to possible sites. 

It is believed to have exploded in mid-air over Jogvera County in central Estonia, according to the country’s air force commander Riivo Valge.

Valge said his team were almost certain the missile was destroyed but they would be “cautious” while they confirmed this.

Joe Gerrard

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