Terrifying video shows Greek firefighting airplane crashing while responding to wildfire

Military officials confirm that the two pilots from the 355th Tactical Transport Squadron of the 112th Fighter Wing were killed in the crash.

PLATANISTOS, Greece – A Greek firefighting airplane crashed and burst into flames in Platanistos on the island of Evia on Tuesday while it was trying to extinguish a wildfire on the hillside, according to the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT).

ERT reported that the CL-215 airplane took off from Nea Aghialos Volos shortly before noon local time and was working to help extinguish the Karystos fire when it crashed.


Two pilots from the 355th Tactical Transport Squadron of the 112th Fighter Wing were on board the airplane when it crashed, and officials have confirmed that they were both killed.

Military officials identified the pilots as Cmdr. Christos Moulas, 34, and 2nd Lt. Pericles Stefanidis, 27.

Nikos Dendias, the Greek Minister of National Defense, announced a three-day mourning period to remember the pilots lost in the plane crash.

Both Dendias and the Cyprus Minister of Defense Michalis Giorgallas offered their condolences for the loss of the two pilots.

"The loss of the lives of the air force officers and pilots of the CL-215 firefighting aircraft in the line of duty while attempting to protect the lives and property of civilians as well as the environment is deeply saddening," Dendias said in a tweet. "Our thoughts are with their families and colleagues, to whom we extend our most sincere condolences."

The video appears to show the right wing of the airplane clipping some trees. Something is then seen falling from the aircraft before it briefly climbs in altitude and then banks to the right and dives into the hillside.


Fires rage across Greece

Hundreds of firefighters across Greece have been working tirelessly to extinguish wildfires that have scorched the ancient landscape and forced thousands of residents and tourists to evacuate.

More than 60 wildfires ignited across Greece on Sunday, with the most serious fire burning on the island of Rhodes.

Vacation companies TUI and Jet2 have canceled flights to the region through at least the end of the week, although those airplanes are being flown to Rhodes to evacuate tourists trying to get back to the United Kingdom.

Help has been flowing into Greece from across Europe, with countries sending firefighters, airplanes and other personnel to the affected regions to assist firefighting efforts.

Temperatures have soared above 100 degrees across many areas of Europe over the past several days.

Athens had a forecast high temperature of 102 degrees Tuesday, 107 on Wednesday and the upper 90s by Thursday.

Information received from European news outlets and the military was translated via Google Translate.