UPD – The body of a Hellenic Air Force pilot was recovered by search and rescue crews on Wednesday morning shortly after his jet training aircraft crashed at the Kalamata military/civilian airport, in extreme southwest Greece.

Authorities were alerted to the crash at the north gate of the airport. The downed plane was identified as a two-seater T-2 trainer from the 120th Air Training Wing. Reports also indicate an explosion occurred onboard just before the crash.

The incident took place at around 11 a.m., according to messinialive.gr, prompting the immediate response of firefighting units and ambulance crews.

According to public broadcaster ERT, the T-2 aircraft is the sole training jet used by Hellenic Air Force to train cadet pilots and newly commissioned air force second lieutenants.

The Hellenic Air Force later issued a statement confirming the incident: “On Wednesday, December 27, 2023, at 11:28, a T-2E Buckeye aircraft from the 120th Air Training Wing/363rd Air Training Squadron crashed during its return, half a nautical mile northwest of Kalamata Airport. A search and rescue operation is currently underway.”