MADRID – A Spanish Eurofighter jet crashed on Thursday after taking part in a military display in Madrid for Spain's national day, killing its pilot, the defence ministry said.
"As a result of the accident, the pilot of the plane that crashed on its approach to landing has died," the ministry said in a statement.
BREAKING: First reports a fighter jet has crashed at Los Llanos airbase (Albacete). MoD not confirming for now.pic.twitter.com/vyEqfBctdx— The Spain Report (@thespainreport) October 12, 2017
It said the Eurofighter went down near a military base at Albacete, 300-km (180 miles) southeast of the capital. The Twitter account for the defence ministry's chief of staff confirmed the pilot's death.
"Rest in peace, comrade. Thank you for helping us to celebrate the day you have given your life for. We won't forget you," it said, posting an image of the Spanish flag pinned with a black ribbon.
A Eurofighter last crashed in Spain in June 2014, killing the pilot when it ploughed into grass short of the runway at the Moron air force base near Seville. Spain's national day marks the date that Christopher Columbus first arrived in the Americas in 1492.
It falls this year in the middle of Spain's biggest political crisis in a decade as Catalonia's separatist leader is threatening to split the region from the rest of the country.
A traditional military parade took place in Madrid, with fighter jets, military planes and helicopters making several flybys.