The Greek Ministry of Defense has released the details of the pilot killed when his Mirage 2000-5 fighter jet crashed northeast of the island of Skyros on Thursday.
He was 34-year-old Giorgos Baltadoros, reportedly a father of three, who was born in the village of Morfovouni, near Karditsa, central Greece.
He was serving in 331 Squadron of the Hellenic Air Force based at the Tanagra air base.
Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos announced the grim news on social media, writing:
“A Greek pilot has joined the pantheon of heroes. He fell fighting for the defense of our national sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Homeland bows [to his sacrifice] in mourning. Sincere condolences to his family and the Hellenic Air Force staff.”
Baltadoros’ Mirage and another Greek jet were returning to an air force base on Skyros after confronting Turkish planes which had violated Greek airspace.
Greece’s air force confirmed in a statement that at 12.15 p.m. local time (1015GMT) contact was lost with the Mirage about nine nautical miles northeast of the island.
Turkish armed forces have denied any of its planes were in the area at the time of the crash.
The Hellenic Air Force has announced an investigation into the causes of the incident.