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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-08-16

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] New Evidence
  • [02] Richter of Fear in Japan
  • [03] Hassle Due to Bad Weather
  • [04] Shipwreck South of Portugal
  • [05] Tension in Bank Employees Strike
  • [06] Greek National Team Meets

  • [01] Cyprus and Greece Deep in Mourning New Evidence

    16 Aug 2005 08:56:00 (Last updated: 16 Aug 2005 12:09:08)

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: ANA, NET, NET 105.8

    The coroners report gives new evidence over the fall of the Cypriot airline company Helios Boeing 737 in Grammatiko. In particular, during the autopsy on 12 out of 24 recognised bodies, it arose that the twelve persons were alive, meaning that their heart and lungs were functioning during the crash. This was announced late last night by coroner Phillipos Koutsaftis, while coroners Nikos Karakoukis and Nikos Kalogrias also stated the same to NET 105.8. However, they noted that the coroners report couldnt conclude if at the time of the crash they had fainted or in a coma. The autopsy on the rest of the bodies, some of which are severely burned, will conclude if and how many were alive during the crash. Following, toxicological exams will be made in order to see if toxic gasses were inhaled. However, a toxicological exam cannot officially conclude if the persons had fainted. At the same time, Greece and Cyprus are in mourning. Today is a national day of mourning for Greece, while at 12:00 a 3-minute silence will be observed. In Cyprus, which is in a three-day mourning, flags will fly half mast, while at 11:00 a prayer will take place for the 121 victims in the Holy Church of Faneromeni in Nicosia, presided by the President of Cyprus, Tassos Papadopoulos.

    Seeking for Answers

    In the meantime, investigations at the crash scene continue in order to conclude the causes of the accident. Already, the first black box has been found, in which all the technical details related to the flight are recorded, while the shell of the second box has been found, where the discussions between the pilot and the copilot are recorded.

    The boxes will be transported to France where experts will analyze their content. In the findings of the crashs causes the view of American experts from the manufacturing company, Boeing, will also be taken into account.

    Deputy Health Minister Thanasis Giannopoulos briefed Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis over the issues that arose by the crash. Speaking to NET 105.8, the Deputy Health Minister stated that the recognised bodies will be transported to Cyprus with a C-130 aircraft. while DNA testing will be performed on the rest of the victims.

    Meanwhile, in the context of the investigation of the Boeing 737 crash, the former chief engineer of Helios, Kyriakos Pilavakis, testified to the Cyprus police. In his 6-hour testimony, Mr Pilavakis mentioned that last December during the aircrafts return from Warsaw, there was a loss of cabin pressure and the aircraft landed and remained in Larnaca for a week, undergoing close inspection. Following, it was taken to London for a further inspection, and it was concluded that there was no problem. According to the chief mechanic, all of the airplanes parts had been changed and sent for inspection but nothing specific was found. He said the to the police that since then and until April 2005, when he resigned from the company, there was no similar incident or anything worrying. He also added that the loss of cabin pressure is not unusual but an everyday event.

    On the question of if there was oxygen in the pilots cabin and the rest of the aircraft, Mr Pilavakis noted that the pilots have a big tank underneath their seats and there is a special button which checks if the oxygen is enough with a constant airflow. This tank is not connected to the ones used by the passengers, which is one for every three persons. Also, the pilots mask covers most of his face and can inhale 100% oxygen.

    In closing, Mr Pilavakis ruled out the event that the aircraft crashed due to the loss of cabin pressure, and claimed that there must have been a series of mistakes or mechanical problems.

    Police authorities conducted a search in the offices of Helios in Larnaca, where they seized several documents, which are believed to shed light to the causes of the tragedy. The search began at 20:00 last night, with a warrant by the General Prosecutor Petros Kliridis aimed "at the acquiring and ensuring of documents and other facts that could possibly be useful in the investigation of intended criminal acts."

    On its part, in London, a representative of Helios stated that the company is cooperating fully with the authorities, adding that the documents delivered were relevant to the aircraft that crashed. She claimed that they are photocopies of documents, which have been already given to the Civil Aviation Authority of Cyprus and have been sent to Greece. She described the investigation as a routine procedure, given the circumstances and said that it is not related to criminal actions.

    In the meantime, Sotiris Voutas, the man that made a farce with a so-called SMS sent by his cousin who was aboard the aircraft, will be taken to the Thessaloniki Prosecutor today.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    Dreadful Ordeal

    [02] At Least Forty-Five Injured Richter of Fear in Japan

    16 Aug 2005 11:22:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Today, a strong earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale rocked northern Japan and resulted in the injury of at least 45 persons. The earthquake caused the roof of an indoor swimming pool to collapse in Sendai, resulting in the injury of 22 persons, one in serious condition. "There was a tremendous boom. People were screaming and headed toward the exit. It shook a lot. A lot of people were crying," said a young woman to Japanese broadcaster NHK. The earthquakes epicentre was located in the Pacific Ocean, and was also felt in Tokyo, 300km away. However, there were no reports of damage or victims in the Japanese capital. The earthquake was followed by strong after shocks. For precautionary reasons, the railroad services have been suspended, while no train derailments were recorded. Flights in the airports of Tokyo have been temporarily stopped, in order for the runways to be checked out. After the earthquake, three nuclear plants closed in Onagawa. As the Tohuku Power Company announced, around 17,000 houses were without electricity. The Japanese authorities had issued a tsunami warning, which they lifted ninety minutes after the earthquake. However, a small tidal wave measuring 10cm struck the shores of the northern province of Miyagi, 18 minutes after the earthquake without causing problems.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [03] 210 Passengers On Board Greece Airways Hassle Due to Bad Weather

    16 Aug 2005 12:38:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    Sources: ANA

    All went well for the misadventure of 200 and more passengers on board an a Greece Airways aircraft en route from Istanbul to Paris, since the pilot had to land for refueling in Thessaloniki instead of Corfu due to the bad weather. The Boeing 757 departed with 212 passengers from the Istanbul Airport, and according to the flight plan shortly before 10:00 it was scheduled to land in the Corfu Airport for refueling and following continue its trip to Paris. However the aircrafts pilot did not manage to land in Corfu, as in the area of the Ionian Sea there is bad weather, rainfall and strong gales. He immediately contacted the control tower in the Thessaloniki Airport and at 10:43 the aircraft landed without any problem. As the Chief Director of the Thessaloniki Airport Kostas Tenekes stated to the Macedonian News Agency, the change of airport for refueling is a very common event. As it is expected, the aircraft will depart for the French capital shortly after noon.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [04] Two Persons Injured Shipwreck South of Portugal

    15 Aug 2005 19:48:00

    By Anna Kourti

    A fire broke out in a catamaran boarded by tourists and following sank in the southern shores of Portugal. The rescue crews and at-the-scene witnesses announced that two persons were injured. The ship boarded by 90 passengers was on a day cruise in Algavre, the southernmost tip of Portugal. The incident took place around 500m off the coast. According to local media, the passengers were rescued by Coast Guard crafts that were patrolling the area and other crafts. The two injured are hospitalised suffering from hypothermia and with bruises. An investigation is being carried out over the causes of fire, which according to passengers broke out in the kitchen grill. According to the rescued passengers statements, the crewmembers did not manage to throw the lifeboats in the sea on time and the ships fire extinguishers did not function correctly.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [05] Strikers Will Gather at 17:00 Tension in Bank Employees Strike

    16 Aug 2005 11:50:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    Transactions in banks are being performed with difficulty due to the 24-hour strike announced by bank employees, thus reacting to the government reforms over their insurance. At 07:30 tension was apparent at the central branch of Emporiki Bank on Sofokleous Street in Athens, when policemen violently removed striking employees who were guarding its entrance. According to a complaint by President of the Hellenic Federation of Bank Employee Unions (OTOE) Dimitris Tsoukalas, the police forces were called by the Manager of the Bank Mr Provopoulos, while on the issue of the participation in the strike, Mr Tsoukalas estimates that it is a quite high percentage. In the meantime, the bank employees are participating in a rally at 17:00 on Sofokleous Street, while at the same time a General Assembly will begin attended by the shareholders of Emporiki Bank in order to approve the accession of the supplementary banks fund to the Single Bank Employees Insurance Organisation, as is foreseen by the Bill voted over the banks insurance.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    Bank Employees on Strike

    [06] Greek National Team Meets

    15 Aug 2005 21:31:00

    By Vasilis Kalpinos

    The European Champions made its first meeting for the new season with many new faces and many absences. The Greek team participated in its first training session, at the facilities in Agios Kosmas and tomorrow it will travel to Belgium in the context of a friendly match against the countrys team, which will broadcast by NET on Wednesday, at 21:15. There were many changes in the training session. Few people came to see the team due to the holiday, but also to the grief over the airplane crash. The players will wear black armbands on Wednesday, while Nikos Lyberopoulos stated his condolences to the victims families on behalf of the team.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

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