Canadair crash in Karystos: The two martyred pilots

Christos Moulas, Periklis Stefanidis canadair

As fires burn forests and property from one end of the country to another, two young men boarded their Canadair this morning and selflessly threw themselves into battle against the fiery blaze. Fate, however, had a bad game in store for them...

They breathed their last in the line of duty while operating over a fire in a stream near the village of Platanistos in Karystos.

The 27-year-old Periklis Stefanidis, and the 34-year-old Christos Moulas, operators of the 355th Tactical Transport Squadron of the 112th Fighter Wing, took off shortly before noon with the CL-215 from Aghialos airport bound for Karystos.

The aircraft was seen flying at a low altitude, disappearing into a canyon, only to be followed by a devastating fireball moments later.

The Martyrs:

Second Lieutenant Periklis Stefanidis, 27 years old
Second Lieutenant Periklis Stefanidis, 27 years old
Squadron Leader Christos Moulas, 34 years old
Squadron Leader Christos Moulas, 34 years old

The announcement by the military:

On Tuesday, July 25, 2023, at 14:52, a CL-215 aircraft of the 355th Tactical Transport Squadron of the 112th Fighter Wing fell, during an aerial firefight, in Platanistos Evia, Resulting in the fatal injury of the captain, Commander (I) Christos Moulas, 34 years old, and the co-pilot, First Lieutenant (I) Periklis Stefanidis, 27 years old.

Three days of mourning in the Armed Forces

By decision of the Minister of National Defense Nikos Dendias, a three-day mourning period is declared in the Armed Forces (from July 25 to 27, 2023) for the loss of life in the line of duty of the Air Force Officers and operators of the CL-215 firefighting aircraft, which was operating in Evia.

How the tragedy happened

Shortly before 3:00 p.m., while making a drop over a forest fire, their aircraft struck a tree with its right wing, causing it to lose altitude and fall into the stream.

The Canadair crashed and, within seconds, was engulfed in flames. The two young fliers died despite the efforts of the Firefighters to extinguish the fire and extricate them.

The 27-year-old, Periklis Stefanidis, originally from Thessaloniki, was an Air Force pilot and dreamed of tearing up the airwaves with his plane from a young age.

He loved to travel and decided to serve in the Fire Aviation. He could not have imagined that his last journey would have such a tragic end...

The 34-year-old, Christos Moulas, was passionate about aircraft and travel and often uploaded photos of his flights on social media.

Two years ago, he had also uploaded a photo from his Canadair while flying over the Acropolis, drawing praise from his friends.

He was married but unfortunately he did not get to taste the joy of fatherhood as his wife is 3 months pregnant.

They were two, young fliers who did not consider the danger and with a dangerous maneuver came within breathing distance of the flames to save houses and settlements.

They left as heroes in the unequal battle with the fire nightmare.


At the island of Evia, in Platanisto of the Karystos area, and Dervenaki Egialias in Achaia (northern Peloponnese), there are several rekindlings of fires "so far managed by powerful land and air forces allocated in those areas," Artopios said.

Later information said that the subsiding of the strong winds that were blowing in the area of Karystos in combination with the superhuman efforts of the firefighting by air have helped break the spread of the fire, as firefighting forces managed to set the fire under control, according to local authorities.

"We want to be optimistic, as from Tuesday morning we fought hard by land and by air and managed to restrict the fire fronts," the vice governor of Evia Giorgos Kelaiditis told Athens-Macedonian News Agency.

"If the weather conditions allow it, maybe late at night we will be able to put an end to this nightmare that we are experiencing in the last days," added Kelaiditis.

A total of 8 water-dropping helicopters and two firefighting aircraft were operating in the area.

Greek fires

Meanwhile, in the fires overall, Greek firefighters have been joined by counterparts and fire engines from 10 countries as of Monday night, while another 38 firefighters with 14 fire trucks are expected on Tuesday from Serbia, Artopios said.

He also warned of extreme risk of fire on Wednesday in several areas of mainland Greece, and very high risk in all other areas, with a rise in temperatures expected.

READ MORE: Fire in Rhodes: Police and volunteers rescued dogs locked in cages - Watch the video.

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