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List of dead, injured in Sharm el-Sheikh accident announced
2005-08-19 16:20:53

Nicosia, Aug 19 (CNA) -- The Cyprus Foreign Ministry announced officially tonight the names of the seven Cypriots, killed earlier today in a road accident in Egypt on their way back to their holiday resort from a visit to Saint Catherine's Monastery, in the Sinai.

The announcement was made by Permanent Secretary at the Ministry Ambassador Sotos Zakheos, who expressed shock and dismay at a new tragic accident, following Sunday's air crash of an Helios Airways Boeing 737-300, near Athens.

''I am shocked at this new tragedy. I would like to extend my heartfelt and most sincere condolences to the bereaved families and to assure them that the Ministry and the government will do everything possible to help the injured return home as soon as possible and bring back the bodies, on the first available flight, possibly tomorrow,'' the Ambassador said.

Speaking to the press, he said the government is in touch with the Egyptian authorities in Cairo and in Nicosia and thanked the Egyptian Ambassador here for his assistance.

He said the minibus had a flat tire and overturned, killing seven of the 13 passengers it was carrying.

Four among the dead belonged to the same family, whose other three members, all under-age children, were injured in the crash. A couple was also killed and another woman passenger. Three other passengers are in good health.

The driver of the minibus, an Egyptian national, was also killed.

''This is a tragic accident. We appeal to Cypriots traveling abroad to follow the official programme of organized tours,'' he said, adding that this group of people had apparently hired the minibus by themselves and not through the official tour representative.

The police have already notified the next of kin of the dead, he said. ''Our Ambassador in Cairo will collect the bodies, attend to the formal arrangements and has been instructed to send the bodies back on the first available flight,'' Zakheos said.

Responding to questions, he said some family members of the dead persons are already on their way to Egypt.

Cyprus is still trying to come to terms with Sunday's air disaster in which 121 people were killed when their aircraft crashed into the mountainside, near Athens.

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