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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 06-05-18

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Akrivos Tsolakis, head of the Hellenic Air Accident and Incidents Investigation Committee, presented today the draft report regarding the crash of an Helios Airways jet in Athens last August, that killed all 121 persons on board, which until finalisation, will remain confidential.

    Tsolakis presented the report, which will be finalised sixty days from today (July 18), after the concerned parties make their comments, to the head of Cypriot Air Accident and Incidents Investigation Committee Costas Orfanos during a special ceremony in the presence of Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos.

    During statements he made at the Presidential palace, Tsolakis said that the draft report consists of one volume of 200 pages, 187 pages of text and 13 annexes.

    Asked if the specific air crash can be described as inevitable, Tsolakis said that no air crash is fatal to happen and expressed certainty that the developments will make the relatives feel vindicated, at least as regards the causes, which led to the tragedy.

    He explained that the report also contains a lot of recommendations for the safety of flights, but the Greek committee on the investigation has no authority as regards the issuing of a new certificate of safety for the aircraft of Ajet, as ``Helios Airways`` has been renamed.

    Responding to a question on whether there were people who made their work difficult, Tsolakis said: ``Absolutely no one. Just a few shadows in the horizon, that did not create any problems``.

    As regards the investigating work, he noted that he briefed President Papadopoulos and the Communications Minister only on the procedure.

    As regards the briefing of Boeing, he said that this has to be done by the Americans, noting that he has sent to them as well as to the ยลม of France a copy of the report this morning.

    In his statements the Head of the Cypriot committee, said that a copy will also be sent to Helios, which despite its renaming to ``Ajet Aviation``, remains a legal person as to the investigation of the air crash.

    Concluding Tsolakis noted that the moral deadline for the completion of the case is the 14th of August and even though in such cases an extension can be demanded the objective is to issue the final report before the 14th of August.

    Orphanos said that he can definitely give to his Greek colleague the comments of the Cypriot committee within sixty days and even before this deadline.

    Replying to another question, Tsolakis said that the report ``is referring to causes of the crash and not to responsibilities.``

    According to Tsolakis, the comments accepted by the Committee will be incorporated into the report and the comments it does not accept will be incorporated as an appendix. The finalised version of the report will be handed to the Greek authorities.

    On 14 August an Helios airways Boeing 737 on its way to Prague, via Athens, crashed into the mountain side north of the Greek capital killing 121 passengers and crew on board, most of them Cypriots going on holiday. The Boeing came down as two Greek F-16 were accompanying it after it failed to respond to calls from Athens control tower.


    Cypriot Government Spokesman George Lillikas has expressed satisfaction with the presentation of the draft report by head of the Hellenic Air Accident and Incidents Investigation Committee Akrivos Tsolakis, regarding the crash of an Helios Airways jet in Athens last August, that killed all 121 persons on board.

    Lillikas reiterated the Cypriot Presidents pledge that both the government and himself personally will contribute decisively towards the thorough and in-depth investigation to find out the real facts which led to the tragedy and that responsibilities will be attributed.

    He noted that that the Greek report focuses on the causes of the tragic air crash and not the responsibilities, which will be detected by the Committee appointed by the Ministerial Council.

    ``The government expresses satisfaction with the completion of the report and the investigation by the Tsolakis Committee, Lillikas said noting the hard work done by the members of the Greek Committee to meet their deadlines.

    Meanwhile AJet Aviation LTD, formerly named Helios Airways LTD, has welcomed the completion of the draft report and thanked the Greek Committee for giving us the opportunity to comment on the draft report.

    Throughout the past nine months the management and staff of the Company cooperated fully with the investigation teams and provided them with all the requested information and material, a press release noted.

    The company noted its commitment to cooperate fully with the accident investigators stems from our sincere desire to establish the true causes of this tragic accident.

    Over time there has been a lot of rumour and speculation and we hope that the report will lay this to rest, it added.

    Speaking to CNA after the presentation of the report, the president of the committee formed by the relatives of the victims of the Helios tragedy said that what is expected now is that the independent committee will move immediately towards the procedure that will indicate those responsible for the air crash and bring them before justice.

    Nicolas Yiasoumis said that a delegation of the Committee will meet Friday with the head of Cypriot Air Accident and Incidents Investigation Committee Costas Orphanos and ask for the draft report.

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