Seventeen years after the Helios tragedy, the worst air crash in Greek and Cypriot history, 121 people, mostly Cypriots, including 22 children, died on vacation.
Sotiris Soteriades, a member of the Helios Kinship Committee, told CNA that a memorial service will be held on Sunday at the Chapel of Theotokos in Grammaticos, Greece, where the plane crashed.
A small number of relatives will attend the memorial service, and in Cyprus there will also be a service by the bereaved families of the victims.
According to Soteriades, those who lost their families in the crash left behind forever hurt.
“Lately, relatives are reliving the 2005 drama.
“They remember the moment they had to identify the victim.
“They went to Athens to confirm the identity of their loved ones, but for many it was an impossible and painful experience.”
Relatives feel they have no evidence of what happened as regular checks were not carried out during the flight and the mistake led to the tragedy, he added.
“None of my relatives feel that the responsibility has been shared.
“The officials effectively bought out their sentences by paying ridiculous sums to the Greek judicial system.
Flight 522 of Helios Airlines, Cyprus Airlines, departed Larnaca International Airport at 09:07 am on August 14, 2005 and headed to Prague with a stopover at Athens International Airport.
En route from Larnaca, the plane lost contact with air traffic control in Nicosia just before entering Greek airspace.
Two Greek F-16 fighter jets were dispatched to intercept the plane that failed to answer the call from the control tower in Athens.
They saw the captain’s seat empty and the person in the co-pilot’s seat collapsed onto the control stick, revealing three passengers. does not movewore an oxygen mask while other masks hung from overhead units.
The only movement witnessed by an F-16 pilot was Junior Steward Andreas Prodromou, who opened the bulletproof cockpit door and attempted to take control of a Boeing 737.
As I clutched a portable oxygen mask, I heard him say, “Mayday.”
The plane was on autopilot, circled over Athens, and had a fuel capacity for only a maximum of three hours of flight.
Shortly after noon, the plane crashed on a hillside near the village of Gramático. 25 miles from Athens5 miles northeast of Athens airport “Eleftherios Venizelos”, all on board died.
On February 2, 2013, the Athens Court of Appeal convicted three of the four defendants in the Helios air crash.
Helios Director Demetris Pantazis, Flight Operations Director Andreas Kickides and Chief Pilot Ianko Stoimenov were found guilty of manslaughter.
The fourth defendant, chief engineer Alan Irwin, who checked the aircraft before its fateful flight, was found not guilty.
The three executives were given the option to pay €73,000 each in exchange for serving 10 years in prison.
Following the Athens ruling, the proceedings in Cyprus’ Nicosia Circuit Court were suspended.
As a result, all charges were dismissed and the defendants acquitted.
https://www.financialmirror.com/2022/08/14/17-years-since-helios-air-disaster/ 17 years since the Helios Air Accident