UK

10 Dead As Greek F-16 Jet Crashes Into Spanish Base During Nato Maneuvers

26/01/2015 18:38 GMT | Updated 26/01/2015 21:59 GMT

A Greek F-16 fighter jet crashed into other aircraft on the ground during NATO training in southeastern Spain Monday, killing at least 10 people, Spain's Defence Ministry said.

Eight French and two Greeks were killed in the crash, according to Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will head to the scene on Tuesday.

Another 19 people were injured in the incident at the Los Llanos base, which sent flames and a plume of black smoke billowing into the air, the ministry said in a statement.

Five with severe burns were transported to a Madrid hospital for treatment and the rest were undergoing treatment in the city of Albacete near the base, the statement said.

Nine of the injured were Italians taking part in the training course, the Italian defence ministry said in a statement. Seven suffered slight injuries but the conditions of two were still being assessed.

The two-seat jet was taking off but lost thrust and crashed into an area of the base where other aircraft involved in the NATO exercise were parked, the Spanish Defence Ministry said. At least five jets were damaged and the Italian statement said "numerous" helicopters were damaged.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he was "deeply saddened by the crash of a Greek fighter jet at the Los Llanos base in Spain, which has caused many casualties" and called the crash "a tragedy that affects the whole NATO family."

The Spanish ministry said the jet that crashed was taking part in a NATO training exercise called the Tactical Leadership Program.

The 10 NATO countries participating in the program are Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United States.

According to a US Air Force website, TLP was formed in 1978 by NATO's Central Region air forces to advance their tactical capabilities and produce tactics, techniques and procedures that improve multi-national tactical air operations.

The first TLP course took place at Fuerstenfeldbruck Air Base, Germany. It has been held at the Spanish base since June 2009.

The Los Llanos base is about a two and a half hour drive from Madrid.

The crash comes just hours after the swearing-in of Greece's new prime minister Alexis Tsipras, with his left-wing Syriza party winning by a wide margin in the snap election on Sunday.