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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-08-14

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From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Cypriot passenger jet crashes northeast of Athens

  • [01] Cypriot passenger jet crashes northeast of Athens

    A Cypriot airliner crashed northeast of Athens on Sunday carrying 115 passengers and a six-member crew. No survivors have been reported, authorities said.

    The Boeing 737 operated by Cyprus-based Helios Airways fell at about 12:15 hours in an unhabited area northeast of the capital five minutes before its scheduled landing time on a flight from Larnaca to Prague via Athens.

    Crew notified Cypriot authorities of a fault in the aircraft's air conditioning unit on approaching Greek airspace, but made no contact with Greek air traffic controllers on entry.

    Greek civil aviation authorities alerted the air force in line with anti-terrorism measures, government sources said.

    Two F-16 fighter jets dispatched from a military base near Athens located the aircraft a few minutes later near the southeast Aegean island of Rhodes, but calls for identification went unheeded, the sources said.

    Flying at close quarters, the air force officers reported that visible through the cockpit window was only one of the aircraft's two pilots, who showed no signs of response. Overhead oxygen masks in the passenger section had dropped into place.

    After reporting the aircraft as "renegade", or unidentified, the pilots tracked the airliner until it began to lose height and crashed in Grammatikos, near Athens international airport.

    Firefighters and rescue workers sped to the wreckage as military helicopters patrolled overhead.

    Helios Airways has released no statement on the crash.

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, who broke short a long holiday weekend on the island of Tinos, has maintained close contact with the defence minister and other authorites involved in the aftermath, the government spokesman told reporters.

    Karamanlis called a mini-cabinet meeting for 16:00 hours local time.

    Also returning to Athens were the leader of the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement, George Papandreou; and the head of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology, Alekos Alavanos.

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