Three Greek crew members died on Kinaros island early on Thursday after a Greek navy helicopter crashed in the Aegean Sea during an exercise, a defence ministry official said.
"The Agusta Bell helicopter was taking part in a military exercise. It had taken off from a frigate sailing in the area and disappeared from radar around 0045 GMT. Wreckage has been found near Kinaros," the official said.
The Greek navy helicopter took off from Navy frigate “Nikiforos Fokas” to conduct the ASTRAPI (Lightning) military exercise.
As the official stated, Turkey said that the rescue operation should have been coordinated with Turkish authorities as the rescue operation was going to take place in Turkish waters.
Commando units rushed to the scene and recovered the helicopter wreckage where two pilots and one engineer were missing at the time.
"The (helicopter's) signal was lost at (0045 GMT)... and a thermal signal was located at (0240) on a mountainous area on Kinaros," a navy spokesman said.
"We have not found all the pieces of the helicopter yet... the area is very hard to access," said Greek armed forces chief Evangelos Apostolakis before the wreckage was found.
According to Apostolakis the helicopter did not have any trouble before the crash.
National Defence Minister Panos Kammenos tweeted asking for respect to be given towards the families of the deceased while their deaths had still not been confirmed.
Όλα όσα γράφονται για ανεύρεση σωρών είναι ψεύδη, ειδικές δυνάμεις τώρα προσεγγίζουν τουλάχιστον σεβαστείτε τις οικογένειες των αξιωματικών
— Panos Kammenos (@PanosKammenos) February 11, 2016
"Everything written about the found bodies are untrue, special forces are now reaching the area. At least have some respect over the officer's families," he wrote.
Kammenos was attending a NATO summit in Brussels at the time, he had to walk out due to the incident.