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Crew tried to eject in jet crash

The crash of a Nato jet in Spain that left 11 people dead came after the Greek crew tried to eject from the plane during a failed take-off, French officials say.

The head of France's air force, General Denis Mercier, said the crash was accidental and no additional measures could have prevented it.

Spanish investigators are probing what caused the jet to lose power during take-off on Monday and crash into five parked planes at Los Llanos air base in south-eastern Spain, triggering a series of explosions and a fire.

The dead included nine French airmen whose bodies were being flown home today.

The two pilots aboard the Greek F-16 were also killed, while 11 Italians and nine French were injured. Three French jets and two Italian jets were damaged.

The Greek jet and the military personnel at the base were taking part in a Nato training exercise called the Tactical Leadership Programme.

TLP was formed in 1978 by Nato's Central Region air forces to advance their tactical capabilities.

The 10 Nato countries participating in the programme are the US, the UK, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.

Also participating at this year's TLP in Albacete were other military personnel from the UK, Germany, Spain and the United States, none of whom were injured.

Greece's defence ministry announced a three-day period of mourning for its armed forces.

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