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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-08-14

The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Bodies Are Recovered
  • [02] Greece-Cyprus in Mourning
  • [03] The Chronicle of the Crash
  • [04] Forced Landing
  • [05] Italian Troops Withdraw

  • [01] Plane Crashes With 121 Passengers Bodies Are Recovered

    14 Aug 2005 19:05:00 (Last updated: 14 Aug 2005 22:19:36)

    By Anna Kourti

    So far, the rescue teams have recovered 85 bodies, including 48 children. The bodies are to be transferred to Schistos, where the relatives of the victims will be called on to identify the bodies probably on Monday. However, the identifying process is expected to be rather difficult, since most of the bodies are dismembered. The relatives and the friends of the victims were taken to Sofitel hotel near Eleftherios Venizelos airport and to the high school in the town of Marathonas. The children that were waiting their parents at Athens international airport and had come to Athens with other flights have already been transferred to their friends and relatives in Athens, while they are under close surveillance by expert psychologists. The two F16 pilots were transferred to Athens by C-130 and are briefing the army officials. The Cypriot government declared a three-day mourning as of Monday to commemorate the memory of the victims, while in all government buildings the flags will be flying at half-mast. The Greek Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos announced that on August 16 the flags in all public buildings will be flying half-mast, while all public services will observe a three-minute silence. Meanwhile, the international Mass Media keep providing extensive coverage of the air tragedy.

    Relatives Will Be Travelling to Athens

    The relatives of the victims will be flying to Athens on Monday. That was announced on Sunday evening in a Press Conference at Larnaca's airport in Cyprus by the Cypriot Transport Ministry Charis Thrassou, who also dispelled many rumours regarding the accident. Mr Thrassou stated that all the members of the Cypriot committee responsible for investigating plane accidents along with a team of coroners and genetists will also go to Athens. He even explained that first-degree relatives will be given priority so that doctors can get genetic material to facilitate the identifying process.

    The Transport Minister furiously dismissed the allegations that the plane had presented a similar problem in its Warsaw-Larnaca flight claiming that no one really knows what happened on that flight. He also stressed that after that incident, the plane was subject to a thorough technical check and that all certificates regarding the plane's efficiency had been submitted to Cyprus' Civil Aviation Authority. "The Civil Aviation Authority, which is authorised to check the efficiency of the planes, had all the necessary documents prior to today's deadly flight," he claimed.

    Mr Trassou also dispelled the speculations according to which the two Greek F16 fighter jets were ordered to shoot down the plane in case it headed towards a populated area.

    However, the Cypriot Transport Minister underscored that no problem was reported by the pilots of the planes as the Greek media said. Instead, he claimed that the air traffic controllers in Nicosia suddenly lost contact.

    Finally, Mr Thrassou overruled the information that some bodies had turned blue due to high temperatures as groundless saying that the speculations about "blue, green or red" are not valid, because the passengers were burnt down.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Greece-Cyprus in Mourning

    The Chronicle of the Crash

    Tragedy on Air

    [02] Tragic Moments Greece-Cyprus in Mourning

    14 Aug 2005 17:25:00 (Last updated: 14 Aug 2005 22:23:29)

    By Anna Kourti

    A gloomy atmosphere prevailed over Athens and Nicosia following the tragic death of the 121 people on board the Boeing 737 of Helios Airways. The emergency meeting chaired by the Greek PM with the participation of the relevant Ministers at Maximos Mansion was completed late on Sunday evening. Exiting Maximos Mansion, government spokesperson Thodoris Rousopoulos said that the first black box has already been found and added that all the relevant authorities were immediately mobilised. Mr Rousopoulos also denied the scenarios according to which the Cypriot airliner was shot down. "The plane kept making circles meaning that it was flying adrift," said Mr Rousopoulos. Referring to the two F16 fighter jets engagement, he argued that the government followed the international regulations. As for the history record of the plane, the government spokesperson pointed out that the company is the only authorised body to release it, while the Cypriot government will release the list of the names. Mr Rousopoulos ruled out the possibility of an act of terror, as well as NATOs involvement in the crash. Mr Karamanlis contacted the Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos by phone and expressed his heartfelt sympathy. On his part, Mr Papadopoulos thanked Mr Karamanlis for the strenuous effort the Greek authorities have been making. Earlier, at Larnacas airport in Cyprus, Mr Papadopoulos chaired a meeting on the tragedy. Meanwhile, Cypriot Health Minister Andreas Gabriilidis departed for Athens to visit the tragedy scene. PASOK leader Giorgos Papandreou, who returned from the Greek island of Paros, is at the tragedy scene, while Alekos Alavanos, who is on Tinos, is expected to return to the Greek capital at night. The Opposition parties, PASOK, KKE, SYN expressed their profound sympathy to the relatives of the victims. At the same time, the two F16 pilots are briefing the army officials regarding the accident.

    Explanations to the Relatives

    The managing director of Helios Airways Dimitris Pantazis said that under law the list with the names of the passengers along with all evidence will be given to police. He refused to answer whether the plane had presented mechanical failures in the past, while he made it clear that the company will not disturb its flights. Mr Pantazis also added that the manufacturing company has been notified and its representatives are expected to arrive in Athens to take part in the investigations.

    Mr Pantazis avoided answering whether the plane had a problem claiming that it is quite frequent for planes to present problems.

    In a Press Conference at Larnaca's airport, the General Secretary of the Cypriot Transport Ministry Makis Konstantinidis stated that the plane lost contact with Nicosia's control tower shortly before it entered the Greek FIR. Air traffic controllers in Cyprus and Greece failed to communicate with the plane.

    Moments of Agony and Sorrow

    Greek PM Costas Karamanlis and the relevant Ministers urgently returned to Athens to monitor and coordinate the rescue efforts.

    Minister of State Thodoris Rousopoulos issued an announcement citing that the Helios airliner that crashed north-east of Athens had taken off from Larnaca and was heading towards Eleftherios Venizelos. The actual causes of the crash remain unknown. Shortly after 10am the Defence, Interior, Transport, Public Order, Mercantile Marine and Health Ministry were mobilised. The PM was immediately briefed and returned from the island of Tinos. Foreign Affairs Minister Petros Molyviatis contacted with the Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos, the announcement concluded. Furthermore, PASOK and SYN leaders Giorgos Papandreou and Alekos Alavanos also broke off their holidays and are heading back to Athens.

    In his announcement, the Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos expressed his deepest sympathy to the relatives of the victims.

    As per information, an official from Cyprus embassy in Prague went to the embassy building to give any answers required regarding the accident.

    Greek Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos communicated with his Cypriot peer Andreas Christou and voiced his profound sympathy for the victims of the crash, reported the Interior Ministry. On behalf of the Cypriot government, Mr Christou praised the Greek authorities for the immaculate and full cooperation with the Cypriot side.

    The Speaker of the islands House of Commons Dimitris Christofias issued an announcement expressing the most profound sorrow on the part of the members of the House of Commons for the death of the people on board.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Bodies Are Recovered

    The Chronicle of the Crash

    Tragedy on Air

    [03] The Chronicle of the Crash

    14 Aug 2005 15:24:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    The chronicle of the crash:

    10:30 first unsuccessful effort to contact the struggling plane that is flying over the island of Kea. The situation is described as renegate.

    10:33 Greek Defence Minister briefs the Prime Minister.

    10:34 the Civil Aviation Authority speaks of a Cyprito Boeing that has reported high temperatures in the cockpit.

    10:54 a state of emergency is declared and all rescue teams available are on high alert.

    11:00 two Greek F16 fighter jets take off.

    11:35 the F16 pilots report that the pilot cannot be seen, while the co-pilot was slumped over the controls.

    11:55 the Cypriot airliner is heading north escorted by the two F16.

    12:05 the plane crashes.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [04] Near Malades in Herakleion Forced Landing

    14 Aug 2005 15:31:00

    By Anna Kourti

    A helicopter that belongs to a private company performed a forced landing in the area of Malades in Herakleion, Crete. The two people that were on board sustained minor injuries and were transferred to the hospital for precautionary reasons. As per information, the helicopter had undertaken to clean up DEIs pillars. However, during the landing process there was a power loss in its engine.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [05] From Iraq Italian Troops Withdraw

    14 Aug 2005 13:15:00

    By Anna Kourti

    136 Italian troops left Iraq. As per La Republica, Italy withdrew 136 out of 300 troops a month prior to the scheduled pullout. Following the terrorist attacks in London, the Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi announced that the one tenth of the 3,000 Italian soldiers will return to Italy.

    Translated by Areti Christou


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