A US Air Forces F18 fighter performs aerobatic flight above the Jones Beach in Long Island, New York, on May 23, 2009. (Xinhua/Shen Hong)
MADRID, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) -- A lieutenant in the Spanish air force was killed on Tuesday morning when the F-18 fighter plane he was piloting crashed on take-off from a military air force base near Madrid, the Spanish Defense Ministry confirms.
The pilot, who was identified as 26-year-old Fernando Perez Serrano, didn't have time to eject and was killed in the impact, which happened at around 11:00 a.m. local time.
Everything points to an engine failure being the cause of the accident as eyewitnesses explained how the F-18 travelled almost the entire length of the 4.2 km runway at Torrejon airbase, on the outskirts of Madrid, before lifting off the ground, turning slightly to the right and crashing around 100 meters further on.
The Defense Ministry confirms a "loss of power in the apparatus."
This is the second fatal accident involving a Spanish air-force fighter plane in the last five days, following the crash of a Eurofighter in the Los Llanos airforce base close to Albacete as it was landing after participating in the Oct. 12 military parade in Madrid.
Defense Minister Maria Dolores de Cospedal has cut short a visit to Catalonia to return to Madrid. And opposition groups in parliament had confirmed they would ask her to appear in congress to explain how two fatal crashes could happen in such a short period of time.