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Worst military air crash since 1984 leaves 10 dead and seven critical
AN AIR crash at a military base in the province of Albacete has been described as the worst in over 30 years after leaving 10 people dead and 21 injured.
The Greek F-16 plane was taking off on Monday when it lost power and fell into the aircraft parking area, colliding with several other stationary planes and causing four massive explosions.
Witnesses say the craft was flying at a very low altitude and may have crashed into the hangar.
A black column of smoke and even the flames could be seen several kilometres away from the airbase at Llanos.
Two Greek nationals and eight French citizens were killed outright, seven others are in a critical condition and a further 14 escaped with non-life-threatening injuries with five of these having been discharged from hospital.
The injured parties were air-lifted to the major burns unit at Madrid's La Paz hospital.
According to Air Force Head of State Javier García and defence minister Pedro Morenés, two of the deceased were the pilots.
The craft was part of the NATO Leadership Tactics Programme, which has often used the Llanos base as does NATO in general, since it is home to the advanced training school for fighter pilots.
This is the worst military air tragedy on Spanish soil since 1984, when a Hercules from the USA crashed in the province of Zaragoza and all 18 occupants were killed outright.
And the 10 deaths on Monday mean the total number of fatalities in military plane crashes since 1980 now stands at 93, with the most recent being in June last year after a Eurofighter Typhoon went down near the base at Morón de la Frontera (Sevilla province) during a routine exercise, killing the pilot.
Secretary-general of the international military organisation Jens Stoltenberg said of the Llanos disaster: “This is a tragedy that has affected the whole of the NATO family.”
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