The National Day parade held on Thursday morning in Madrid was marred by the death of a pilot whose Eurofighter combat jet crashed as it was returning back to base after the traditional flyby.
The parade began at 11am and lasted around 90 minutes. It later emerged that one of the four pilots who had participated in the flyby had crashed at around 12.09pm near the Los Llanos airbase in Albacete province. The pilot was unable to eject from the aircraft in time and died in the crash, military sources reported.
Captain Borja Aybar García, 34, died after something went wrong during the landing maneuver for reasons that remain unclear, said the Defense Ministry.
Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy and Defense Minister Maria Dolores de Cospedal left the reception at the Royal Palace after being informed about the crash and traveled to Los Llanos airbase.
Eyewitnesses said that the four planes arrived near the base in formation, at a low altitude, and were just fanning out when one of them suddenly crashed into the ground, triggering a large explosion and a dense plume of smoke.
English version by George Mills.