Cyprus charges five over 2005 air crash that killed 121
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Cypriot prosecutors have charged five people over the 2005 crash of Helios Airways Flight 522. The loss of the Boeing 737 killed all 121 people on board in what was the deadliest air disaster for both Greece and Cyprus.
"The charge sheet was submitted to the court [in Nicosia] today [Tuesday], and a response to the charges has been set for February 26," said deputy attorney general Akis Papasavvas. The names of those charged were not released, and they face charges of manslaughter and causing death by a reckless, thoughtless or dangerous act, which carry life and four year terms respectively. They all worked for Helios.
"The charges concern two of the three most serious offences under the Cyprus penal code," said Papasavvas. Families of the victims, who had already called for criminal prosecutions, are still carrying out a civil action against the Cypriot civil aviation authority and airframer Boeing. Helios closed in 2006, having been renamed Ajet Airways.
The F-16 pilots reported the airliner's pilots were slumped over the controls. After flying on autopilot for two hours the aircraft crashed near Athens despite the efforts of a flight attendant, who was training to become a pilot, to take control and save the jet.
The subsequent investigation discovered that the pilots failed to adequately monitor the pressurisation system. The plane lost cabin pressure and hypoxia caused the incapacitation of the passengers and flight crew. It is thought that the conscious flight attendant had used multiple crew oxygen cylinders to outlast the others on board. Investigators also believe that the equipment had been left in the wrong setting after testing by maintenance engineers and never checked before flight.
After failing to resuscitate the pilot-in-command, the trainee pilot turned off the autopilot and attempted an emergency landing at Athens International Airport, which the aircraft had been circling in a holding pattern awaiting human input. However, the aircraft ran out of fuel before reaching the runway.
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- "Cypriot court begins Greek air disaster trial" — Wikinews, September 17, 2009
- "Cyprus to charge five over 2005 plane crash that killed 121" — Wikinews, November 4, 2008
- "Coroner makes first post mortems of Athens airliner crash victims; text message was a hoax" — Wikinews, August 15, 2005
- "Cyprus prosecutes five over nation's worst air tragedy" — , December 23, 2008
- "Five charged for Helios jet crash" — , December 23, 2008
- "Cyprus: manslaughter charge for Helios air crash" — , December 23, 2008
- Air Accident Investigation & Aviation Safety Board. "Aircraft Accident Report: Helios Airways Flight HCY522" — , November 2006 PDF (8.42MB)