Condolences continue as Cypriots begin burying victims
Nicosia, Aug 17 (CNA) – As Cypriots began burying the victims of Sunday’s Helios plane crash, condolences keep pouring in from all over the world to the political leadership.
Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Chief of Mission United Nations Operation in Cyprus Zbigniew Wlosowicz, has sent a letter to Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos on behalf of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
It said that on behalf of the SG, the UN family here in Cyprus, and all in UNFICYP, I ask that you convey our sympathy to the families of the victims, and to Cypriots in general”.
“All our in our thoughts and prayers in this very sad time. We feel deeply for their loss and for their pain. Please accept our deepest sympathy and sincerest condolences”, the letter concluded.
In her message of condolences to President Papadopoulos, Her Majesty the Queen said she was ''deeply saddened at the news of the aircraft crash near Athens on Sunday and to learn that so many lives were lost''.
''Prince Philip joins me in sending our sincere condolences to the families and friends of the victims. Our heartfelt sympathy is with you and the people of Cyprus'', Queen Elizabeth concluded.
More letters and messages of condolences continue to arrive to both President Papadopoulos and House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias with world leaders expressing their sympathy for the loss of so many lives.
In his message, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said “it was with great sadness that I learned about the tragic disaster of the Cypriot plane in which tens of human lives were lost, among them children''.
''We sincerely sympathize with the pain and sorrow of the loss which caused suffering to many Cypriot families'', President Putin noted, conveying on behalf of the Russian people his sincere condolences, and the expression of deepest sympathy and solidarity with the families of the victims and the Cyprus people.
Meanwhile, three victims that were identified and brought home last night where buried today.
The church of Agios Nicolaos in the suburb of Engomi in Nicosia was packed as hundreds gathered to bid farewell to co-pilot Charalambos Charalambous.
A total of 121 victims were killed when the HCY 522 flight from Larnaca to Prague via Athens crashed near the Greek capital on Sunday.
Last night 23 bodies that were identified were returned home. More funerals are scheduled to take place later Wednesday and this week while other relatives opted to wait for funeral services until all the victims are identified in order to bury their families together.