NICOSIA – Today marks eight years since Cyprus’ biggest airline accident.
Families in Cyprus and Greece mark eight years since the crash of an Helios aircraft which killed all 121 people on board. On August 14 2005, the Helios Boeing 737-300, en route from Larnaca to Prague via Athens, crashed into a mountain, near Grammatiko, north of Athens, and claimed the lives of all people on board, most of them Cypriots going on holiday.
Relatives of those who perished are in Athens to attend services at a church built at the site of the crash.
On February 2, 2013, a Court of Appeals in Athens convicted three of the four defendants in the Helios air disaster of 2005 and sentenced them to 122 years imprisonment each. Helios Director Demetris Pantazis, Flight Operations Director Andreas Kikkides and Chief Pilot Ianko Stoimenov were found guilty for manslaughter with conscious negligence, a misdemeanour.
Chief engineer Alan Irwin, the fourth defendant, who had checked the aircraft before the doomed flight, was found not guilty.
The Athens court found the three executives guilty of allowing the Boeing 737-300 to take off with an unfit replacement crew. The engineer was found guilty of failing to reset a pressure valve, causing both crew and passengers to pass out from lack of oxygen. The plane flew for hours on automatic pilot before running out of fuel and crashing into a hill near Athens.
The three executives’ ten year sentences were given the option to buy their ten year old sentence which they did, paying 73.000 euros each.
In Cyprus, the case, which was before the Nicosia Assize Court, was suspended following the Athens ruling. All charges were dismissed and the defendants acquitted.
- See more at: http://www.cna.org.cy/webnewsEN.asp?a=9bb0104097724fc0ae59943586fc2d0c#sthash.KyakTGEt.dpuf