The Colonel Stergios Kotoulas , aged 55 and father of two children lost his life while trying to extinguish fire in the Katelios area.
The aircraft of Polish origin with a year of construction and arrival in Greece in 1983 had completed 4,733 flight hours. Kotoulas had a total experience of 4,025 flight hours in fighter, transport and spray aircraft, of which 524 hours in PZL aircraft. He had lived in Cephalonia for the last ten years or so as he was in charge of the squadron of aircraft based on the island and was ready to intervene in case of fire.
How the accident happened
At noon on August 27, Squadron Leader Stergios Kotoulas took off from Kefalonia airport and moved south to the area of Katelios together with another fellow pilot of a similar aircraft in order to participate in the firefighting.
At 12:45, the he spotted the fire and moved towards it flying low. When the Squadron man reached a distance of 20 to 30 meters from the fire his aircraft hit high voltage cables, his left wing was cut, causing him to lose control and the PZL to fall into a hotel yard, next to vacationers who fortunately were not injured. . The Heroic Squadron Leader, in the few seconds at his disposal tried not to steer the PZL into houses or hotels!
The death of the heroic pilot was confirmed a few minutes later by the men of the rescue crews who collected his body.
Squadron Leader Stergios Kotoulas
Stergios Kotoulas was the second child of Christos Kotoulas from Katafyto, Kalampaka (his roots are from the village of Armatoliko, Trikala). He was married and the father of two children, Christos and Panagiota. He had two brothers, Nikos and Menios, the second of whom, also a pilot in the Air Force!
His colleagues described Stergios Kotoulas as a serious man, with a strong sense of duty, smiling, low-key and willing to help whenever asked. He was distinguished for his ethos, professionalism and passion for the airplane. He said: “The more water I load, the more I have to throw in the fire.