The incident occurred at around 11:16 hrs local time (GMT+3) while the plane was scooping water from the seas for use in supporting firefighting operations. The aircraft, VH-FBZ, was on loan from Australia to Greece for use in combatting wildfires during Australia’s off-season.
The two crew members were rescued shortly after the crash by members of the Hellenic Coastguard, and were taken to hospital for pre-emptive checks.
The crash comes almost a month after another firefighting aircraft, a helicopter on loan from Ukraine, crashed into the Aegean Sea on 13 July near the island of Samos, killing both the Romanian pilot and the Greek liaison officer onboard.
While the Greek government has announced plans to invest €1.7 billion in its aerial firefighting capabilities – in response to an especially severe wildfire season last year – the country remains heavily reliant on international support to reinforce its response to the increasing problem of wildfires.