Browse through our Interesting Nodes of EU Member Governments, Politics & Mass Media A)? GHT="50">
Compact version
Today's Suggestion
Read The "Macedonian Question" (by Maria Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou)
HomeAbout HR-NetNewsWeb SitesDocumentsOnline HelpUsage InformationContact us
Tuesday, 12 November 2019
 
News
  Latest News (All)
     From Greece
     From Cyprus
     From Europe
     From Balkans
     From Turkey
     From USA
  Announcements
  World Press
  News Archives
Web Sites
  Hosted
  Mirrored
  Interesting Nodes
Documents
  Special Topics
  Treaties, Conventions
  Constitutions
  U.S. Agencies
  Cyprus Problem
  Other
Services
  Personal NewsPaper
  Greek Fonts
  Tools
  F.A.Q.
 

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-08-17

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

August 17, 2005

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greece observes day of mourning, relatives conclude identification of bodies of air crash victims
  • [02] PM Karamanlis briefed over health ministry's actions related to plane crash
  • [03] Condolences from world leaders continue to pour in over crashed jet
  • [04] Those responsible for plane crash must be punished, KKE says
  • [05] Thessaloniki man jailed pending trial over false SMS linked to plane crash
  • [06] Greece Airways flight forced to land in Thessaloniki
  • [07] Development minister briefs PM ahead of Thessaloniki Int'l Trade Fair
  • [08] Gov't announces tourism-linked projects for Crete
  • [09] Bank workers' strike gets off to a rocky start
  • [10] Stocks nose up in bid to consolidate
  • [11] Papoulias attends events commemorating Kommeno wartime massacre
  • [12] Famous Greek singer V. Moscholiou dies
  • [13] No problems in passenger traffic in ports
  • [14] Thessalians of Europe meet
  • [15] Helios air crash-President Papadopoulos vows full investigation
  • [16] Cyprus President receives condolences from the EU and world leaders

  • [01] Greece observes day of mourning, relatives conclude identification of bodies of air crash victims

    Athens, 17/8/2005 (ANA)

    Greece on Tuesday observed a day of mourning for the 121 victims of Cyprus' Helios Airways flight 522 which crashed into a mountain 40 km north of Athens on Sunday.

    Flags were at half-mast in public buildings, while three moments of silence were observed at 12 noon throughout the private and public sector.

    Relatives of the victims of the air crash concluded the grim process of identifying the bodies of their loved ones late on Monday evening.

    Of the 118 bodies recovered so far, 45 which were considered to be recognizable were sent to the morgue at Laiko Hospital in Goudi for identification.

    Of the 45 bodies, 24 were identified, 6 were not claimed and the remaining 15 were not recognizable.

    The bodies at Goudi that remain unidentified, as well as the others which are deemed unrecognizable and are kept at Schisto, will undergo DNA testing.

    Relatives of the unidentified victims were asked to submit blood samples in order for DNA testing to begin. Testing will begin on Tuesday; results are expected in 10-12 days.

    The search for the remaining three bodies which have yet to be recovered will continue at the crash site.

    Reports, meanwhile, said that the individual that a fighter pilot spotted in the cockpit of the Cypriot airliner desperately trying to regain control of the aircraft shortly before it crashed was apparently a flight attendant.

    The body of the woman, who was found near the cockpit of the Helios Airways Boeing 737-300 jet, was identified by coroners on Tuesday, part of continuing efforts to identify the remains of the 121 people that died in the crash.

    Just as importantly, another two medical examiners on Tuesday ruled that all of the victims examined so far were alive at the point of impact, with the cause of death resulting from massive injuries sustained in the crash.

    One-hundred and fifteen passengers and six crew members were killed in the crash that occurred Sunday in the hilly region of Grammatiko, some 40 kilometers north of Athens. The plane, which departed Larnaca airport on Cyprus for Prague via Athens, never made contact with air traffic controllers at the Eleftherios Venizelos airport in Athens upon entering the Athens FIR. Two Hellenic Air Force F-16 fighter jets were scrambled to escort the plane to the airport shortly after it neared the Cyclades island of Naxos, according to reports. It was the pilot of one of the two warplanes that spotted the co-pilot slumped in his seat and the mysterious figure attempting to regain control of the aircraft.

    In a related development, a memorial service was held on Tuesday adjacent to the crash site and a C-130 plane took off from Elefsina military airport at 8:05 p.m. on Tuesday carrying to Larnaca, Cyprus, the bodies of 23 victims of the Cypriot plane which crashed near Athens on Sunday.

    At least six of the passengers on board Cyprus' Helios Airways flight 522 were still alive at the time the airplane crashed into the mountainous region of Grammatiko, coroner Philippos Kotsaftis concluded on Monday evening.

    Autopsies performed on six victims showed that their heart and lungs were functioning at the time of the crash.

    "I cannot rule out that they may have been unconscious," Kotsaftis said, but it is also possible that they were fully conscious.

    Kotsaftis said that autopsies will be performed on all the other bodies to determine if and how many were alive at the time the plane went down. He said that 80 bodies were unrecognizable and charred.

    Asked whether victims had frozen during the flight, Kotsaftis said that their exposure to the sun and the fire that followed the crash makes it impossible to determine.

    Finally, he said toxicology reports will help provide more definite answers.

    The pilots of the two F-16s which approached the Cypriot plane to testify: The Athens Public Prosecution, in the context of the investigation which it has ordered in the Cypriot plane crash near Athens on Sunday, on Tuesday submitted a demand for the pilots of the two F-16 fighter aircraft which approached the ill-fated plane of the "Helios" company to testify.

    The testimony is expected to be given in the coming days.

    Meanwhile, the Federation of Associations of the Civil Aviation Service (OSYPA) in an announcement on Tuesday expressed the need for the implementation of all the international regulations relating to the security of flights, in light of the crash of the Cypriot plane.

    Having expressed its condolences to the families of the victims, OSYPA called on the state to activate "all the state apparatus foreseen by the international and European regulations" regarding checks and certifications of aircraft and airline companies.

    Helios' ex-chief mechanic testifies, says plane presented decompression problem in the past: Former chief mechanic of Cyprus' Helios Airways, Kyriakos Pilavakis, provided testimony to Cypriot police authorities on Tuesday as part of the ongoing investigation into the causes that led one of Helios' airplanes to crash near Athens two days ago.

    According to Pilavakis, who appeared on Cypriot TV station RIK, the same aircraft during a return flight from Warsaw in December 2004, had experienced decompression problems which resulted in its grounding for one week at Larnaca Airport.

    The plane underwent comprehensive inspection and was then sent to London for further examination, where it was discovered that there was nothing wrong.

    According to Pilavakis, all parts had been replaced; the old parts had been inspected and were not found to be faulty.

    Since then and until April 2005 when he resigned, no other similar incident nor anything worrying occurred again, he said.

    Asked about oxygen supply in the cockpit, Pilavakis explained that pilots have access to a large bottle of oxygen stowed underneath their seats, which enables monitoring oxygen supply. He added that the crew's oxygen supply in the cockpit is independent from that of the passengers'.

    Also, the pilot's mask completely covers the face ensuring 100% delivery of oxygen.

    Finally, Pilavakis ruled out the possibility that decompression caused the plane to crash and claimed that other mistakes or technical failures must have occurred as well.

    Helios Airways flight ZU522 departed from Larnaca Airport at 9:07 a.m. on Sunday headed for Prague via Athens. At 9:37 a.m. it entered Athens air space and never made radio contact with air controllers at Athens International Airport. It crashed at 12:03 pm in the mountainous region of Grammatiko, 40 km north of Athens, killing all 115 passengers and 6 crew members aboard.

    Allegedly, the pilot had reported problems with the plane's air conditioning system to Cypriot air controllers 20 minutes into the flight. Investigations into the cause of the accident are still under way.

    Book of condolences for Helios Airways victims opened at Cyprus House: A book of condolences has been opened at the Cyprus House in Athens -- 10, Heracleitou St. in the Kolonaki district -- for the victims of the Helios Airways plane crash.

    Individuals wishing to express their condolences can visit the office from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

    C-130 plane carries to Larnaca 23 bodies of Cypriot plane crash: A C-130 plane took off from Elefsina military airport at 8:05 p.m. on Tuesday carrying to Larnaca, Cyprus, the bodies of 23 victims of the Cypriot plane which crashed near Athens on Sunday.

    [02] PM Karamanlis briefed over health ministry's actions related to plane crash

    Athens, 17/8/2005 (ANA)

    Deputy Health Minister Thanassis Giannopoulos briefed Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis at Maximos Mansion on Tuesday on the actions the ministry has taken so far regarding the plane crash that left 121 people dead.

    Specifically, 115 passengers and 6 crew members were killed in the crash that occurred on Sunday afternoon in the mountainous region of Grammatiko, 40 km north of Athens. The plane, operated by Cyprus-based Helios Airways, departed from Larnaca Airport on its way to Prague via Athens. It lost radio contact with Cypriot air controllers and never made contact with air controllers at Athens International Airport since entering Athens air space at 9:37 a.m. Two F-16 fighter jets were sent to investigate the situation and escort the plane to the airport. The pilots of the fighter jets discovered that the co-pilot was slumped in his seat and the pilot was absent from the cockpit. Cabin depressurization and a lack of oxygen supply are considered as possible causes of the crash. Investigations are still under way to reach a final conclusion.

    [03] Condolences from world leaders continue to pour in over crashed jet

    Athens, 17/8/2005 (ANA)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, among others, on Tuesday sent condolences to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis over the air tragedy which occurred northeast of Athens at noon on Sunday.

    The British European Union presidency in an announcement on Tuesday expressed its grief over Sunday's plane crash northeast of Athens of a private Cypriot airline.

    "Britain, as president of the European Union, expresses its deep grief over the tragic loss of so many human lives during the crash of the aircraft of the company 'Helios' near Athens. The Presidency extends its sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives in the accident," the announcement said.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder were the latest world leaders on Tuesday to send their condolences to their Greek counterparts over the crash of a Cypriot airliner north of Athens late Sunday morning.

    German President Horst Koeller also sent his condolences to Greek President Karolos Papoulias.

    Putin's condolences were conveyed to Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis by the Russian ambassador to Athens, who visited the former at the foreign ministry.

    Similar condolences were conveyed to the ministry by the FMs of Germany and Turkey, Joschka Fischer and Abdullah Gul, respectively.

    [04] Those responsible for plane crash must be punished, KKE says

    Athens, 17/8/2005 (ANA)

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) demanded that the true causes that led to the crash of Cyprus-based Helios Airways flight ZU 522 be revealed and those responsible be punished, in a statement it issued on Tuesday.

    It also called on the Greek people to consider the key reasons behind an increasing number of "accidents-crimes" that result in a massive loss of human life and to think about ways to help put an end to such phenomena.

    "Commercialization and privatization of social products and popular needs not only worsens people's problems but is also emerging as a great threat to people's safety and lives," the statement read.

    "Policies aimed at privatization, profitability and competition are the culprits behind these crimes," KKE said.

    KKE called on the Greek people and particularly the younger generations to put an end to practices that are geared towards profitability at the expense of society.

    Helios Airways flight ZU522 departed from Larnaca Airport at 9:07 a.m. on Sunday headed for Prague via Athens. At 9:37 a.m. it entered Athens air space and never made radio contact with air controllers at Athens International Airport.

    It crashed at 12:03 pm in the mountainous region of Grammatiko, 40 km north of Athens, killing all 115 passengers and 6 crew members aboard. Allegedly, the pilot had reported problems with the plane's air conditioning system to Cypriot air controllers 20 minutes into the flight.

    Investigations into the cause of the accident are still under way.

    SYN calls for full investigation into cause of crash of Cypriot plane: Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) central political committee secretary Nikos Hountis in a statement on Tuesday regarding the crash of the Cypriot plane near Athens on Sunday, said that it was imperative for the cause of the tragic accident to be fully investigated.

    He said: "As new data is coming to light which multiply the questions regarding the crash of the plane of the low cost 'Helios' private company, it is necessary for the cause of the tragic accident to be fully investigated, not only for responsibilities where these exist to be attributed, but also to avert other future air incidents of such type."

    Hountis also called for plans to convert Olympic Airlines into a private low cost company to be immediately abandoned.

    DHKKI party official among plane crash victims: Yiorgos Theofanis, an official of the Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI), as well as his wife and two children, was among those aboard the Cyprus-based Helios Airways.

    According to a statement issued by DHKKI on Tuesday, Theofanis was Secretary of the party's prefectural organization in Aetoloakarnania and a local government official.

    Helios Airways flight ZU522 departed from Larnaca Airport at 9:07 a.m. on Sunday headed for Prague via Athens. At 9:37 a.m. it entered Athens air space and never made radio contact with air controllers at Athens International Airport.

    It crashed at 12:03 pm, killing all 115 passengers and 6 crew members aboard. Allegedly, the pilot had reported problems with the plane's air conditioning system to Cypriot air controllers 20 minutes into the flight.

    Investigations into the cause of the accident are still under way.

    [05] Thessaloniki man jailed pending trial over false SMS linked to plane crash

    Athens, 17/8/2005 (ANA)

    A 32-year-old Thessaloniki man whose false claim of receiving an urgent cell phone text message from a passenger aboard a jet that crashed north of Athens late Sunday morning -- a statement that made headlines around the world -- will appear before a three-judge misdemeanor court on Wednesday.

    Nektarios Sotirios Voutas has been charged with spreading false information and making a false statement to authorities. He remained jailed on Tuesday pending his court appearance.

    Voutas immediately shot onto the international media spotlight on Sunday after telling private television stations in Athens that he received a SMS text from a cousin aboard the Helios Airways 737-300, moments before the Cypriot passenger jet crashed near the village of Grammatiko, killing all 121 people aboard.

    The father of one reportedly told police that his claim was part of a publicity stunt, while at the same time expressing remorse over the act.

    In yet another twist, Voutas stumbled in a stairwell as he was led into the Thessaloniki courthouse on Tuesday for an arraignment. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he received stitches to his forehead, returning after two hours to the courthouse to hear the charges leveled against him by a local public prosecutor.

    The bogus message, "Goodbye cousin, we're freezing here", merely complicated matters in the crucial hours after the incident, as low temperatures inside the plane could have meant its abrupt decompression at a high altitude, one of the possible causes for the accident.

    [06] Greece Airways flight forced to land in Thessaloniki

    Athens, 17/8/2005 (ANA)

    A flight operated by Athens-based Greece Airways and heading for Paris, made an emergency landing in Thessaloniki on Tuesday morning instead of landing in Corfu where it was supposed to refuel.

    The plane had departed from Istanbul shortly before 10 a.m. and was meant to stop on the Ionian island to refuel before carrying its 212 passengers to their final destination - Paris.

    However, strong winds and rainfall in the Ionian prevented the plane's pilot from landing in Corfu, forcing him to land in Thessaloniki instead at around 10:30 a.m.

    According to Thessaloniki airport officials, the change of airport for refueling purposes is not uncommon.

    [07] Development minister briefs PM ahead of Thessaloniki Int'l Trade Fair

    Athens, 17/8/2005 (ANA)

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said that he briefed Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on all issues related to growth and development ahead of the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair, in comments he made after the two hour-meeting held at Maximos Mansion on Tuesday.

    [08] Gov't announces tourism-linked projects for Crete

    Athens, 17/8/2005 (ANA)

    Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis said on Tuesday that the government would go ahead with tourism-linked projects on Crete under a European Union program.

    Three million euros would be spent on a road linking the port of Iraklion and Alikarnassos; two million euros on improvements for traffic around the port; and one million euros on construction of a shed in the harbor.

    The projects are a continuation of works for the Athens 2004 Olympics, Kefaloyiannis told a news conference on the holiday island.

    [09] Bank workers' strike gets off to a rocky start

    Athens, 17/8/2005 (ANA)

    The 24-hour bank workers' strike got off to a rocky start on Tuesday morning, when strikers were violently pushed back from the entrance of Emporiki Bank on Sophocleous Street in downtown Athens by police special forces (MAT).

    According to OTOE trade union President Dimitris Tsoukalas, MAT forces had been called in by the bank governor himself, George Provopoulos.

    Bank workers are striking in protest at the new pensions law, which OTOE claims will hurt many of its members by raising the pensionable age and lowering supplementary pensions.

    Tsoukalas claimed that a large percentage of bank workers are participating in today's strike.

    Before the bill gained parliamentary approval, the union had sought a single supplementary pension system for the sector and opposed alignment of pensions with the main state fund.

    Strikers are scheduled to hold a demonstration outside the bank's offices at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, coinciding with the beginning of the bank's general shareholders meeting.

    Bank employees staged a series of weekly 24-hour strikes in January and February this year and again in the spring before the bill became law after rejecting proposals by the government and employers.

    [10] Stocks nose up in bid to consolidate

    Athens, 17/8/2005 (ANA)

    Stocks finished higher in mixed trade with players buying into medium-capitalization paper and high-cap OPAP and PPC but selling banking shares, traders said.

    The Athens general share index closed at 3,280.28 points, marking a rise of 0.08%. Turnover was 171.5 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.29% down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 0.95% higher; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.21% down.

    Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 151 to 92 with 77 remaining unchanged.

    [11] Papoulias attends events commemorating Kommeno wartime massacre

    Athens, 17/8/2005 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias attended events in the northwestern village of Kommeno, Arta prefecture, on Tuesday commemorating the tragic 62nd anniversary of the community's destruction by Nazi occupation forces in 1943.

    "The list of Greek villages burned by the Nazis is huge; thousands of victims -- men, women, children, all civilians -- were butchered in the name of the most horrific absurdity ever known by mankind: Nazism."

    According to wartime records, 317 people, including 97 children, were executed by occupation forces in the early morning hours of Aug. 16, 1943.

    [12] Famous Greek singer V. Moscholiou dies

    Athens, 17/8/2005 (ANA)

    Famous Greek singer Vicky Moscholiou died at Ygeia Hospital on Tuesday morning after having been hospitalized for several days.

    Moscholiou had been diagnosed with cancer two years ago.

    Statements in the honor of Moscholiou were made by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, ministers, main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga, Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) party as well as Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos.

    Moscholiou will be buried on Thursday with state expense.

    [13] No problems in passenger traffic in ports

    Athens, 17/8/2005 (ANA)

    Passenger shipping is improving with each day that passes in the ports of Piraeus and Rafina, as well as in most of the ports of the islands of the Aegean, in which in the previous days unrest prevailed due to delays which occurred in certain passenger ships.

    Already on Tuesday in the 65 arrivals and departures of an equal number of ships from the port of Piraeus, there were no delays with the exception of one ship, that of "Panagia Thalassini", while returning ships sailed normally and which in the coming days will transport to Piraeus about two million passengers.

    The normalization of the shipping rïutes is mainly due to the intervention of Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis but also to the intensification of control measures by the port officials in all the ports of the country's islands.

    Within the coming days Kefaloyiannis is expected to announce measures on passenger shipping.

    [14] Thessalians of Europe meet

    Athens, 17/8/2005 (ANA)

    The first meeting of Thessalians of Europe, was celebrated with songs, dances and the awarding of medals at the beautiful forest of Dialektos in the municipality of Faloria.

    The first meeting of the Thessalians of Europe was organized by the Municipality of Faloria in cooperation with the Federation of Thessalian Associations of Germany and of other European countries under the name "Vassilis Tsitsanis" and was crowned with complete success.

    The main speaker at the event was Parliament First Vice-President Sotiris Hatzigakis who conveyed a greeting by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    [15] Helios air crash-President Papadopoulos vows full investigation

    NICOSIA 17/8/2005 (CNA/ANA)

    Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos has pledged that a full investigation will be carried out into the cause of the Helios Airways plane crash, near Athens on Sunday, that killed all 121 persons on board.

    Speaking after a memorial service for the victims of the crash, President Papadopoulos expressed deep sorrow and pain for the loss of life.

    He stressed that the ''government will go beyond conveying condolences and will stand by the relatives, offering every help they might need''.

    He assured the Cyprus people that the government ''will make serious efforts for a full investigation to find the cause of the crash and those responsible for this tragedy''.

    Papadopoulos said the government was in contact with the European Union and would not hesitate to call in ''independent and objective experts until this is fully investigated, impartially, and until responsibility is attributed, no matter whom those responsible may be.''

    [16] Cyprus President receives condolences from the EU and world leaders

    NICOSIA 17/8/2005 ( (CNA/ANA)

    President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso has sent a message of condolences to President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos for Sunday's plane disaster that resulted in the death of 121 people.

    "It was with great sadness that I learned about Sunday's airplane disaster which has deeply struck your people and country, causing many casualties and so much suffering'', Barroso said, an official statement said on Tuesday.

    ''On behalf of the European Commission and on my own behalf'', he noted, ''allow me to offer you and the people of the Republic of Cyprus our sincere condolences, and the expression of our deepest sympathy and solidarity with the families of the victims."

    President Papadopoulos also received letters and messages of condolences for the tragic air accident from French President Jacques Chirac, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, Finish President Tarja Halonen, Serbia-Montenegro's President Svetozar Marovic, President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Klaus, Queen of The Netherlands Beatrice, President of the German Federation Çorst Kohler, his Holiness Aram I Catholicos of Cilicia.

    Rice offers condolences to President Papadopoulos: US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in a telephone conversation with Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, expressed her condolences and sympathy to the relatives of the victims of the Helios Airways plane crash that killed all 121 persons on board.

    She also conveyed to President Papadopoulos, the people of Cyprus and the relatives of the victims the sympathy of US President George Bush "at this bitter moment of the loss of so many lives".

    Rice also assured President Papadopoulos that the US administration is ready and willing to grant any assistance required.

    President Papadopoulos expressed his gratitude for Rice's expression of support and assured her that the people of Cyprus deeply appreciate the American condolences and expression of support.

    He reiterated the government's determination to fully investigate the cause of the accident as well as the conditions that led to the plane tragedy, and to attribute responsibility, if there is any.

    For this reason, he said, and bearing in mind that the aircraft was made in the US, if it is deemed necessary then the help of independent US experts will be asked.

    Rice reiterated the US willingness to help in anyway possible and said that her country would send an independent expert whenever the Cypriot government makes a relevant request.

    President Papadopoulos thanked Rice for expressing her condolences and for being willing to offer assistance if it is required.


    Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
    Back to Top
    Copyright © 1995-2016 HR-Net (Hellenic Resources Network). An HRI Project.
    All Rights Reserved.

    HTML by the HR-Net Group / Hellenic Resources Institute, Inc.
    ana2html v2.01 run on Wednesday, 17 August 2005 - 22:03:12 UTC