MADRID (Reuters) - Eight French nationals and two Greeks were killed and 21 people injured when a Greek fighter plane crashed during NATO training in Spain on Monday, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said.
The F-16 crashed at about 3:20 p.m. (9.20 a.m. EST) shortly after taking off at a training center in Albacete, 260 km (160 miles) southeast of the capital Madrid.
“There are also quite a lot of people injured ... 10 French people, 11 Italians,” Rajoy said in an interview with Telecinco TV.
The Greek fighter jet was carrying out a NATO training exercise at the Spanish base but something went wrong during the take-off.
“The plane lost power, crashing into the parking area for planes, crashing into various planes that were parked there,” the defense ministry said in a statement.
Two pilots on board were among the dead and other pilots and mechanics were underneath the plane in the parking area, according to Spanish media reports. French Mirage and Italian Alpha Jet planes were parked when the plane crashed, the defense ministry said.
Five of the injured were taken to a specialist burns unit at La Paz Hospital in Madrid while the others were treated at a hospital in Albacete.
“I am deeply saddened,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement.
“This is a tragedy which affects the whole NATO family. I express my heartfelt condolences to the loved ones and the nations of those who lost their lives, and I wish a speedy recovery to the injured.”
Reporting By Inmaculada Sanz, Emma Pinedo and Sarah Morris in Madrid; additional reporting by Adrian Croft in Brussels and Nicholas Vinocur in Paris; Writing by Sarah Morris; Editing by Sarah White and Robin Pomeroy