Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy confirmed on Monday evening that the two Greek pilots and eight French were killed in the accident, while ten French and 11 Italians were injured.
The accident took place at 15:18 local time (1418GMT) at Los Llanos airbase in Spain’s central province of Albacete, the defence ministry said.
The jet “lost power, crashing into the parking area for planes,” and damaged “various planes that were parked there”, the ministry added.
Those planes, each of which had at least two people on board, were filled with fuel in their tanks and ready to take off for a training exercise when the accident happened. The crash caused up to four successive explosions, according to local media reports.
“The plane took off, going up eight or 10 meters, it went to the right side, crashed and exploded. It was on fire and more planes exploded later”, a witness said.
Local media said the accident affected at least five aircraft, including French Mirages and Italian Alfa-Jets.
After the accident, Spanish Defence Minister Pedro Morenes and Spanish Air Force Chief of Staff General Francisco Javier Garcia Arnaiz arrived at the airbase late Monday, located about 250 km southeast of Madrid. French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will visit the scene of the crash on Tuesday, reports said.
The crashed Greek jet was taking part in a NATO training exercise called Tactical Leadership Program (TLP) launched in 1978 under an agreement between 10 NATO nations with an eye to improving multi-national air operations, according to the defence ministry.
The countries that take part in the programme are Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United States.
The crash is the first accident at the Spanish airbase since it started to host the training program in 2009. Local media also said it is the worst accident of military aircraft in the country since 1984 when a U.S. Air Force transport plane crashed on a mountain range in northeast Spain, killing 17 Americans and a Spanish officer.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he was “deeply saddened” by the disaster.
“This is a tragedy which affects the whole NATO family,” he said in a statement.