A Hellenic Navy helicopter crashed on the Aegean islet of Kinaros – Three dead

A Hellenic Navy helicopter crash in which three people were killed early Thursday.

A panel of experts was assembled to investigate the crash, which occurred at 2.45 a.m. Thursday on the Aegean islet of Kinaros, but weather conditions in the area were not considered to have contributed to the accident.

The Agusta Bell 212 helicopter crashed into a hillside on the northeastern part of Kinaros, which has just one inhabitant and is located between Leros and Amorgos. On board were captain Anastasios Toulitsis (36), co-pilot Constantinos Pananas (34) and radar operator Eleftherios Evangelou (35). Only Toulitsis’s body had not been recovered by late Thursday.

The helicopter had taken off from the Nikiforos Fokas frigate earlier as part of the Astrapi (Lightning) 2/16 nighttime exercises. The wind speed at the time of the crash was between 5 and 6 Beaufort, military authorities said.

“Today is a day of mourning for the Greek people, the nation and the country’s armed forces,” said Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, who was attending a NATO summit in Brussels.

“Greek officers, in peacetime, have entered the pantheon of heroes while doing their duty, while abiding by the oath they took when they entered the armed forces. They fell while keeping us all safe. We are devastated.”

The site of the crash was not discovered until 7 a.m. Thursday after both Greek and Turkish forces took part in the search for the fallen helicopter.

The search for Lieutenant Anastasios Toulitsis, pilot of the Hellenic Navy’s AB-212 helicopter that crashed has concluded today, after it was announced that his body has been recovered.

Aside from Lt. Toulitsis, Lieutenant Konstantinos Pananas and Warrant Officer Eleftherios Evangelou were also on board the the helicopter that crashed in the northwest section of Kinaros on Thursday.

During the search operation, the Navy divers were supported by the Air Force and the Special Disaster Response Unit (EMAK).