Athens: Two Greek army pilots perished when
their Apache attack helicopter crashed on a training flight
today, Greece`s defence minister said, as the armed forces
declared an official mourning period.
The minister, Evangelos Venizelos, expressed "deep grief
over the tragic death of two select members of the army`s air
corps" and promised an investigation "to the greatest possible
extent" into the cause of the accident.
The Apache attack helicopter crashed shortly before noon
(0900 GMT) at the Megara military airport 60 kilometres west
of Athens, the Greek armed forces press office told AFP.
The army general staff said the pilots, both male, were
mortally wounded on impact.
The helicopter had been duly inspected before takeoff in
what had been a training flight, it added.
Initial reports indicated the pilots had attempted a
crash landing but witnesses said the helicopter plunged to the
ground before catching fire.
"We saw the helicopter spinning and then it fell and
caught fire," a young man on the scene told state television
Another witness said the chopper had "nosedived" to the
The Greek armed forces will observe three days of
mourning over the tragic accident, the defence ministry said
in a statement.