Greece Mourns Death of Hero Pilot



The Greek Armed Forces are observing three days of mourning for Giorgos Baltadoros whose fighter jet crashed northeast of the island of Skyros on Thursday.

By order of Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, who announced the tragic loss yesterday, flags will fly at half-mast at all military units during the next three days.

Meanwhile, the local community in Morfovouni, the picturesque village near the town of Karditsa, Thessaly where Baltadoros lived most his short life, is in shock.

Preparations are taking place for his funeral which is expected to take place on Saturday.

The 34-year-old father of two, was born and raised in the village, where his parents and brother still live.

He finished high school in nearby Karditsa before he joined the Hellenic Air Force.

In recent years, Baltadoros with his family lived in Petroupolis, a western Athenian suburb.

He was serving in 331 Squadron of the Hellenic Air Force based at the Tanagra air base, about 40 kilometers (26 miles) north of the Greek capital.

Just before Easter he was sent to Skyros as the Hellenic Air Force was on high alert following frequent Turkish provocations in the Aegean.

His wife last spoke to him as he was preparing to take off for what proved to be his final mission.

He was ordered to confront Turkish planes that had violated Greek airspace.

There was no engagement, as the Turkish planes left Greek airspace before Baltadoros’ Mirage 2000-5 reached the area.

His plane crashed in the sea as he was approaching Skyros airport for landing.