Funeral held at Air Academy for crashed pilots

The aircraft crash scene
The aircraft crash scene

On Friday afternoon the General Air Academy (AGA) held the funeral of the two pilots. The service was attended by colleagues, friends and family, as well as the undersecretary of Defense, Alejo de Torre, and the chief of the General Staff of the Air, General Javier Salto.

The pair died when their aircraft plummeted into the sea in Santiago de la Ribera, in front of the yacht club after, according to a witness who was walking along the beach, after the engine developed a strange noise and then seemed to stop altogether. The witness said that there was no engine noise at all as the aircraft fell into the sea.

The pilots were named Air Force Commander Daniel Melero Ordonez , 50 years old and a native of Cádiz, and Ensign Rosa Almirón Otero, aged just 20 years and from Lucena (Córdoba).

The mayor of San Javier, José Miguel Luengo, and the President of the Murcia Community, Fernando López Miras both offered their condolences with Luengo explaining that Commander Melero was one of the most experienced pilots at the Training Academy who will be sadly missed by his many colleagues.

Meanwhile the Acting Defense Minister, Margarita Robles, in statements to the media during a visit to the Base of El Goloso (Madrid), has reported that the cause of the accident was engine failure that occurred shortly after take-off.

She said that the aircraft had flown earlier in the day, returning safely to the base, after which it was checked. There were said to be no reported problems.

The event occurred three weeks after flight commander and instructor Francisco Marín also died in crashing his C-101 into the sea close to La Manga del Mar Menor.

The minister of defence said that that these two events have caused “much pain and suffering” in the Armed Forces, to which she added the serious damage caused by the floods by the Gota Fria.

The Association of Spanish Military (AUME) has demanded complete transparency from the Ministry of Defence with their findings from the two accidents that occurred in less than a month. “The lost lives of our colleagues Francisco, Daniel and Rosa María need clarification for their families, partners and the public,” said the association.

They said that in the past that “the lack of transparency and confidentiality has prevented full knowledge of such accidents”, criticising the fact that the causes of military aircraft accidents are never known.