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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-08-18

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Run Out of Fuel
  • [02] Flash Indications
  • [03] Invasions and Clashes
  • [04] Common Strategy
  • [05] Wonder Girl Rocks in Denmark
  • [06] Farewell, Vicky Moscholiou

  • [01] First Evidence from the Black Box Run Out of Fuel

    18 Aug 2005 10:50:00 (Last updated: 18 Aug 2005 20:30:24)

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Sources: NET 105.8 - Simerini

    The first evidence from the fatal Boeing's black box is shocking at a time when experts are trying to solve the puzzle of the air tragedy. According to the first evidence, the airliner started losing altitude fast because of lack of fuel, while at 11:50 the left engine stopped working and at 12:00 the right engine went off, resulting in the crash of the Boeing. At the same time, according to indications, one or maybe more persons tried to intercept the plane's course as it didnt fall on its tip, but with an inclination of 15 degrees and crawled on its hull for more that 300 metres. In the meantime, new shocking evidence is surfaced by Cyprus top-selling Simerini daily, which publicized the report of an Olympic Airways mechanic on Thursday under the banner "Instructions to continue the flight despite the problems". The report demonstrated that the German pilot had informed Helios Airways about the problems that had been presented 23 minutes after its takeoff. However, he was instructed to continue the flight. In particular, using the private frequency of Helios' tower control, the captain reported a technical problem and after receiving instructions to proceed with the flight, contact was lost. An hour later, at around 10:30am, the companys spokesperson communicated with Olympic Airways asking for help after the plane would land. He reported a complete contact breakoff with the Boeing and a possible navigation problem.

    Shocking Report Surfaces

    The report was conducted by an Olympic Airways mechanic who was on duty last Sunday morning.

    As per the report, a spokesperson for Helios Airways reported complete communication breakoff and a possible navigation problem in the Boeing en route from Larnaca to Athens. He also said that two Greek F-16 fighter jets had taken off to escort the Boeing to Athens international airport and that the fuel supply in the Boeing could last for only 15 minutes.

    Helios Airways was in contact with the fatal airliner around 20 minutes after its takeoff from Larnacas airport, when the pilot informed them about the problems that had been presented. The instruction given to him was to continue its flight to Athens, the newspaper reported.

    Speaking on SIGMA television, Helios Airways managing director Dimitris Pantazis confirmed that the pilot had reported the problems. However, he avoided giving more details regarding the type of the problems. He also said that he had no idea whether Helios representative to Greece had contacted the Olympic Airways asking for its contribution during the planes landing.

    Many Questions, No Answers

    The airliners maintenance book and the conversations the pilot had with Larnacas control tower and a Helios employee are to be examined by a group of experts in Athens so as to reach solid conclusions as soon as possible. Furthermore, the evidence from the planes wreckage will also been taken into account. The experts have also requested Cypriot authorities hand them a new passenger list, since three bodies have not yet been recovered. The oxygen bottle and the two oxygen masks that were found intact inside the cockpit added more questions. The fact that the airliner made 17 right-hand turns before someone tried to save it also raises questions, thus making the experts believe that a combination of causes resulted in the crash.

    At the same time, the Athens Public Prosecutors Office and the committee investigating air accidents are to evaluate the testimonies of the two F-16 pilots who flew near the Helios Boeing. It was made public that the camera inside the second F-16 recorded the fall but not the crash. Meanwhile, the fact that the fighter jets war equipment was found intact rules out the scenarios of the Boeing being shot down.

    Furthermore, Cyprus Civil Aviation Authority dismissed the information brought to surface by Cypriot top-selling Fileleftheros , according to which the airliner was not licensed to fly above 28,000 feet. As per Greek Ethnos daily, the airliner crashed at 600 kilometres per hour, after it had covered a 300-metre distance on the mountainous area, where it crashed.

    Speaking on NET radio station 105.8, Jim Proulx a spokesperson for Boeing said, "There is the feeling that many things occurred at the same time, and not just one mistake or a malfunction." Jim Proulx is among the US experts that arrived in Athens.

    The investigating authorities are searching for the co-pilots logbook, since his family claimed it contains incriminating evidence against the Helios Airways and the airliner.

    Complaints by British Passengers

    As per British Times , many British tourists reported that in a Helios flight en route from London to Larnaca last Saturday, serious problem were presented in the air-conditioning.

    The passengers said that it was freezing cold inside the cabin and that the crewmembers kept apologizing for not having given them blankets. The Boeing 737 had departed from Heathrow at 22:30pm on Saturday and landed at Larnaca at 04:15am on Sunday. It then took off en route to Athens at 09:00am. It crashed three hours later.

    In the meantime, on Crete, 120 Greek-Cypriot tourists refused to fly back to Cyprus with Helios Airways. However, speaking on NET radio 105.8, Cyprus Embassy spokesperson Anthos Lykavgis assured that the Cypriot government will settle the issue.

    European Commission Demands Actions

    The European Commission issued a warning urging the Cypriot government to closely and quickly examine whether Helios Airways can conduct safe flights, reported Cypriot newspaper Politis.

    As per the newspaper, the Director-General for Energy and Transport Francois Lamoureux sent a letter to Cyprus permanent representative to Brussels Nikos Aimiliou on August 16. "To avoid any danger, I would like to draw your attention to the urgent need to thoroughly evaluate whether Helios Airways fleet is airworthy," said Mr Lamoureux in his letter.

    Mr Lamoureux announced to the Cypriot government that an in-depth inspection of the countrys Aviation Authority is imminent. He also called on Nicosia to comply with the 94/56 EU directive and conduct a full-scale investigation over the crash.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Flash Indications

    Revelations Over Air Tragedy

    Farewell

    [02] DNA Identification Commences on Friday Flash Indications

    18 Aug 2005 12:10:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Autopsies on the unidentified bodies will have been completed by Saturday, while the first results from the toxicological tests are expected to be produced on Thursday. The toxicological tests are to determine whether the 121 people on board the Helios Boeing had inhaled carbon monoxide. As per Nikos Karakoukis, one of the coroners who conduct the autopsies, the tissue tests are due in four days and will show whether any toxic substances or other factors played their part in the air tragedy. As of Friday morning, the DNA tests taken from first-degree relatives of the victims that have not been identified will be sending to Athens said Senior Molecular Genetist at Cypriot Institute of Neurology and Genetics Marios Kariolou.

    DNA Identification Commences on Friday

    Mr Kariolou said that DNA samples have been taken from all the families to identify the charred bodies. "We assured the relatives that the process will be over as soon as possible," he stated.

    The autopsies conducted so far showed that all passengers were alive at the time of the crash, while the revelation that a five-year-old boy survived the crash and was charred by the fire that broke out has socked the public. However, coroner Nikos Kalogrias, who conducted the autopsy on the boy, made clear that the boys case is not differentiated form the rest since it sustained mortal injuries. The autopsies have also showed that the victims had not eaten or drunk anything.

    As for the identification process via DNA samples, it is to commence as of Friday in Athens and it is expected to last 10 to 12 days, said Cypriot Health Minister Andreas Gabriilides. He also added that there is a constant briefing over the course of the autopsies.

    Greek Coroners React Strongly

    Athens chief coroner Filippos Koutsaftis used a harsh tongue against coroners from Cyprus who questioned the results of the autopsies and dismissed then as hasty. Cyprus chief coroner Sophoklis Sophokleous who participates in the autopsies also reacted to the accusations. "Were I to have the slightest doubts, I would have withdrawn," he argued.

    Coroner Nikos Karakoukis also reacted strongly. He maintained that the Greek coroners are committed to their work. He also said that the questions voiced by their colleagues from Cyprus are not supported scientifically and demanded that they stop tarnishing the Greek coroners' scientific credibility.

    Condolences From Bush and Bartholomew

    US President George Bush expressed his warmest condolences to the Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. "My wife and I would like to express our most heartfelt sympathy to you, the Greek and Cypriot people as well as to the families of the victims," said Mr Bush.

    The US President praised the response of the Greek Air Force, for it tried to avert a catastrophe. He also praised the brave Greek firefighters and rescue teams who rushed to the crash scene.

    Furthermore, Mr Bush stated that American experts are in Athens to offer their know-how and assist the investigations into the causes of the tragedy. At this time, our thoughts and prayers rest with the Greek and Cypriot people, Mr Bush concluded.

    Furthermore, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said a letter to Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos expressing his most profound sorrow and sympathy to the families of the victims and to the Cypriot people.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Run Out of Fuel

    Revelations Over Air Tragedy

    Farewell

    [03] Pullout by Force for Second Day Invasions and Clashes

    18 Aug 2005 19:18:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: BBC

    The pullout of settlers from the Gaza Strip continues amidst tension. Israeli security forces invaded at noon the synagogue of the Neve Dekalim settlementand removed hardcore protestors, who had gathered to stop the evacuation process, by force. People protested against the invasion of soldiers, throwing water bottles against them. However, clashes did not escalate and protestors were removed one by one outside the synagogue. Similar incidents took place a while later in a smaller settlement, Kfar Darom, at the heart of the Gaza Strip, where the situation is still unsettled. There, Israeli forces were attacked with water pipes upon their invasion, while some police officers were seriously injured, when protestors at the roof of the synagogue threw acid on them. In the meantime, tension escalated in the Kfar Yam settlement, when a man threatened to blow himself up if anyone attempted to remove him.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [04] Karamanlis-Papadopoulos Meeting Common Strategy

    18 Aug 2005 16:16:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    After meeting on Thursday morning at the Maximos Mansion, Kostas Karamanlis and Tassos Papadopoulos confirmed the common stance of Athens-Nicosia over the Cypriot issue and Turkeys accession course to the European Union. The two men discussed the latest developments after Ankara signed the Customs Protocol for its union with the ten new Member-States and its denial to recognise Cyprus, as well as the air tragedy. According to the Prime Minister, the latest developments were at the focus, while the stance of Greece-Cyprus will be presented at the Council of Permanent EU Representatives on August 31 in Brussels, as well as at the informal Foreign Ministers Summit on September 1 and 2 in Wales. Earlier, Mr Papadopoulos met with the President of the Hellenic Republic, Karolos Papoulias, PASOK President George Papandreou and KKE Parliamentarian spokesperson Orestis Kolozov, while in the afternoon he met with SYN President Alekos Alavanos.

    "Firm in Our Positions"

    As the Prime Minister underlined, both sides informed each other in depth and agreed on the moves of Athens and Nicosia in the context of Ankara's accession prospect in the EU and the Cypriot issue.

    "Our strategic choices are known and remain firm, because we believe they serve our interests and respond to the wish of our peoples for peace and stability in the area," stated Mr Karamanlis.

    As for the Cypriot President, he stressed, "We have determined our tactics and strategy" and clarified that "our position to try and promote a solution for the Cypriot issue and deal with the problems that come forth remains firm."

    At the same time, the Prime Minister voiced once again the grief and solidarity of the Greek people regarding the air tragedy and stressed the will of the Government to fully clarify the reasons of the crash. "Investigations are underway at a quick pace. Both governments will continue their close cooperation. It is the least we can do for the victims and their families," underlined Mr Karamanlis.

    Mr Papadopoulos stressed, "we decided to proceed with extra actions to speed up investigations, mostly regarding the identification of the victims and the conditions and reasons of the accident." He thanked the Greek government once more for its support and instant mobilisation, while he also referred to the special way Greek authorities handled the victims' relatives.

    Talks with President of Republic and Opposition

    On Thursday morning, Mr Papadopoulos met with Karolos Papoulias, George Papandreou and Orestis Kolosov, while he talked with Alekos Alavanos in the afternoon.

    The President of the Hellenic Republic expressed his condolences to Mr Papadopoulos for the loss of so many people at the airplane accident, while he also referred to the "new fights" Cyprus is called to give over its national affairs.

    After meeting with the Cypriot President, George Papandreou accused the Government of wrong handlings. "We have always supported the accession prospect of Turkey. Our difference in relation to the ND government is that we had designated a very specific framework with rules and goals, a roadmap that promoted our interests and those of Cyprus and promoted solutions in the context of international legality," underlined PASOK President Mr Papandreou.

    Government spokesperson Thodoris Roussopoulos answered to the criticism, underlining, "at a time when Athens and Nicosia are handling the latest developments with compassion, cooperation and seriousness, Mr Papandreou chooses the path of pettiness for obviously political reasons. It is clear that he is walking this path alone."

    In relation to the air tragedy, PASOK president underlined he was impressed by the operation of Greek authorities and asked for a quick and absolute clarification of the tragedy.

    KKE representative Mr Kolosov underlined the party's solidarity in a fair and viable solution to the Cypriot issue, while referring to the airplane accident, he voiced his condolences and his party's wish to investigated and bring the real causes of the accident to light.

    "Our aim is to render Turkey's statement over not recognising the Republic of Cyprus non existent. It is clear that a country wishing to enter the EY should respect its rules and regulations," said SYN President Alekos Alavanos after meeting with Tassos Papadopoulos. He also expressed his condolences to the victims' relatives and underlined that the EU's priority should be the protection of its citizens.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [05] Wonder Girl Rocks in Denmark

    18 Aug 2005 14:17:00

    By Ilias Papaioannou

    The people in Silkeborg, Denmark, were amazed by the performance of Greek 14-year-old Eleni Ioannou at the10th European and Mediterranean Junior Archery Championships. The international champion continued her amazing performance for the second day in a row, making a new European and world record in compound cadet women and set sail for the podium. On the contrary, Romantzi and Karageorgiou did not make it in the 23rd Universiade, which will be completed tomorrow in Izmir.

    Haemhouts' Record Smashed to Pieces

    The 14-year-old Greek athlete had a problem with her left hand before the games, but got over it with the help of a special ointment, and managed to rank first in the preliminary round of outdoor compound with an amazing performance of 688/720, which is a new European and world record. Belgian Petra Haemhouts held the previous record with 641/720 in May 2004.

    Today, the wonder girl of Greek archery will be competing in the Olympic round, hoping to claim a medal, a hope which her coach Alexandros Nasoulas is reinforcing with his statement. "Eleni made an amazing appearance in the preliminary round. Smashing both the European and world record is not a small thing. I think Eleni will do just fine in the Olympic round and can even claim a medal. Eleni has impressed everyone in Denmark with her skills."

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [06] Her Funeral at 16:00 Farewell, Vicky Moscholiou

    18 Aug 2005 15:26:00 (Last updated: 18 Aug 2005 20:52:42)

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Singing one of her most famous songs "The Trains that Departed" and the national anthem, friends, relatives and fans bidCicky Moscholiou farewell this afternoon at the 1st Athens Cemetery. A long convoy of friends, colleagues and fans escorted the mortal remains of the great singer to her last residence. Head of the convoy was Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis, Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyiannis, her ex husband Mimis Domazos, her two sisters and two daughters, as well as her grandchild. Dozens of colleagues, like Marinella, Charis Alexiou, Dimitra Galani and others followed suit. Earlier, Culture Ministry Secretary General Christos Zachopoulos underlined in his speech, "the people communicated with Vicky Moscholiou's work, which has lasted and will last in time."

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti


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