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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-12-20

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From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 20/12/1997 (ANA)


  • Ukrainian airliner wreckage found, transport plane crashes


Ukrainian airliner wreckage found, transport plane crashes

The wreckage of a Ukrainian airliner with 71 people on board was found by a Greek navy helicopter today shortly after a Greek airforce transport plane crashed on its way to help in the search.

National Defence Undersecretary Dimitris Apostolakis said the wreckage of the Ukrainian plane was found between the villages of Aronas and Kato Milia in the Pieria mountain range, northern Greece.

Speaking to reporters at Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport, Apostolakis said troops aboad the helicopter taking part in the search saw "the wreckage and bodies". The wreckage was found at a low altitude.

Although search parties had earlier passed near the site of the wreckage, they failed to spot it.

"Our first concern is to see if there are any survivors, and then we will take care of the rest," Apostolakis said.

Both Apostolakis and Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikios declined to give further details before notifying relatives of persons missing in the crash.

Defence Ministry sources said the Greek air force C-130 transport plane which took off from Elefsina air base crashed in Inoi in the prefecture of Viotia, north of Athens.

It crashed shortly before it was scheduled to land at Tanagra air base to pick up more troops to take part in the search operation for the Ukrainian Yakovlev-42 airliner.

A giant rescue operation of more than 5,000 troops braved freezing weather, snow and heavy fog in search of the Ukrainian plane that disappeared from airport radars shortly before landing at Thessaloniki airport on Wednesday evening.

Defence ministry sources said the C-130 crashed at Pastra mountain.

The ministry later released the names of the five-member crew of the C-130 transport plane who died in the crash, as: Georgios Papayiannopoulos, pilot, Panayiotis Golfinopoulos, co-pilot, Panayiotis Alexiou, flight engineer, Sarantis Moutsatsos, load master and Theofilos Georgapoulos, assistant load master.


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