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World Briefing / Greece

Firefighting plane crashes; 1 dead

August 28, 2009|TIMES WIRE REPORTS

A Greek firefighting plane crashed while battling a blaze on the Ionian Sea island of Kefalonia, killing the pilot, authorities said.

The accident happened three days after firefighters managed to bring under control a wildfire that destroyed 150 homes and thousands of acres of forest and farmland near Athens.

"The death of air force Col. Stergios Kotoulas has shattered us," President Karolos Papoulias said.

The 1983, Polish-made PZL plane crashed nine minutes after taking off from the Kefalonia airport, officials said. The 55-year-old father of two had thousands of hours of flight experience on several types of aircraft.

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