The head of France's air force says the crash of a NATO jet in Spain that left 11 people dead, including nine French airmen, came after the Greek crew tried to eject from the plane during a failed takeoff.

Gen. Denis Mercier said Thursday the crash was entirely accidental and no additional measures could have prevented it.

The bodies of the French airmen were being flown back on Thursday.

Spanish investigators are probing what caused the jet to lose power during takeoff Monday and crash into five parked planes at the Los Llanos air base in southeastern Spain, triggering a series of explosions and a raging fire.