A Greek F-16 Air Force jet crashed in southeastern Spain at a Los Llanos base according to officials. It was reported that just after takeoff during a NATO exercise, the jet crashed. As a result, other planes on the ground were hit and extensively damaged or destroyed. Even worse, there were 10 people killed, as well as 13 injured, some in very serious condition.
In a brief statement from Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, everyone is deeply saddened by the event. This tragedy affects everyone in the NATO family. Stoltenberg personally extended his condolences to the loved ones of the families involved along with the nations and wished the injured a speedy recovery.
Apparently, the F-16 was involved with an exercise associated with NATO’s Tactical Leadership Programme, designed to improve cooperation on a multinational level specific to air operations.
After crashing, the F-16 burst into flames, sending plumes of black smoke into the sky. It was said that one of the now deceased pilots onboard the plane had performed a wrong maneuver while taking off, which may have been the catalyst behind the crash.
At this time, nationalities of all the dead and injured are not known although it has been said that nine of those taken to the hospital were Italian. In looking over data, a source stated that while not confirmed, it appears those who died were from several different NATO countries to include France, Germany, Denmark, Britain, Italy, Belgium, and the United States, all stationed on the base.
Immediately following the crash, emergency personnel began trying to get the flames extinguished to save as many people possible but to also determine the amount of damage done to the other planes involved. When questioned further about details of the crash, a spokeswoman for NATO declined to respond.
It is known that the area where the plane came down was where other planes were parked, which is why so many were hit. Ben Brown, an official with the defense ministry for Spain said that the majority of victims are thought to be foreigners.