The story appears on

Page A10

August 28, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » World

Pilot dies as firefighting plane crashes

A GREEK firefighting plane crashed while battling a blaze on the Ionian Sea island of Kefalonia yesterday, killing the pilot, authorities said.

The accident happened three days after firefighters managed to bring under control a wildfire that destroyed 150 homes and thousands of hectares of forest and farmland near Athens.

"The death of airforce colonel Stergios Kotoulas has shattered us," Greek President Karolos Papoulias said. "He fell at the frontline doing his duty, battling the fire."

The 1983, Polish-made PZL plane crashed nine minutes after taking off from the Kefalonia airport to fight a forest fire, officials said. Nobody else was on board.

The 55-year-old father of two had thousands of hours of flight experience on several types of aircraft.

"I'd like to express my devastation, our grief and my condolences for the loss of the pilot, who died while doing his duty selflessly," Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said.

While his conservative government was criticized for its response to the August 21-24 fires, the worst in Greece since a 2007 forest blaze killed 65 people, firefighters have won praise by all political parties for their tireless efforts.

"This is tragic proof of the huge effort made by firemen all these days," main socialist PASOK opposition spokesman George Papaconstantinou said.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend