The pilot of a Spanish Air Force plane that crashed this morning in the Mediterranean Sea, in front of the seaside spit La Manga del Mar Menor, in Murcia, has died, according to the Defense Ministry. An emergency team located the remains – which are still pending forensic testing – of Commander Francisco Marín Núñez, who was the only crew member on board.
At around 9.38am, emergency services were flooded with hundreds of calls from La Manga, reporting that a plane had fallen into the sea. The aircraft was a two-seater C-101, a model used by Spain’s Patrulla Águila acrobatic display team.
Imágenes del accidente del avión de la AGA en La Manga. pic.twitter.com/aOW00kbjm7— Morci (@JoseJMorcillo) August 26, 2019
Images of the accident of the AGA plane in La Manga.
Although initial reports suggested there could have been two pilots on the aircraft, the Defense Ministry confirmed that there was only one instructor on board, who died in the accident despite having ejected.
Emergency services from Murcia searched for the pilot in the Mediterranean Sea, near kilometer 4 of La Manga. Vessels from the Monitoring and Rescue Plan (COPLA), maritime rescue, Red Cross and the Civil Guard also took part in the rescue effort.
The mayor of San Javier, José Miguel Luengo, confirmed that the crash took place near Zoco in La Manga.
On Twitter, two users shared videos of the moment of the accident, filmed from Galúa beach. In the video, the plane is seen to nosedive then try to straighten up. But when the plane is almost parallel to the sea, it hits the water. In the video, a dot is seen behind the tail of aircraft, which could be the pilot after ejecting. Parts of the crashed plane washed up on the shores of the beach, where there was a strong smell of gasoline.
The C-101 model, manufactured by the Spanish company CASA, is known in the military as an E-25 Mirlo and is used for advanced basic training at the Air Force. Marín Núñez belonged to the Air Force Academy. According to Civil Protection, it is not yet known why the plane crashed.
The accident comes after seven people were killed on Sunday in a midair collision between a light plane and a helicopter in Mallorca, in Spain’s Balearic Islands. A German family with two children and the Italian pilot of the helicopter, as well as the two Spaniards on board the plane, died in the accident.
English version by Melissa Kitson.