Helios air crash reconstruction in December, says investigators
Nicosia, Dec 10 (CNA) -- The head of the Greek investigation committee into the cause of an air crash near Athens, in August this year that killed all 121 people on board, has announced that a reconstruction of the fatal flight will take place later this month.
Akrivos Tsolakis, leading a team of experts as the head of the Greek Investigation Commission into the cause of air crashes and incidents, who is in Cyprus for further investigative work, said that 2006 will vindicate those who have suffered from the August crash and will help Cyprus find the path it deserves in the air industry, in particular where safety is concerned.
“The reconstruction will take place on December 19 with a similar aircraft to the one that crashed, that belongs to Olympic Airways. The flight number will be symbolic, OA 121,” he said, adding that the reconstruction will conclude the initial effort to collect data relating to the cause of the crash.
He explained that two Olympic Airways chief pilots will fly the aircraft to be used in the reconstruction and added “this flight will go down in history because it is unprecedented in Cyprus’ air industry and we have never witnessed an air crash in which fighter planes were present.”
On 14 August an Helios airways Boeing 737 on its way to Prague, via Athens, crashed into the mountain side north of the Greek capital killing 121 passengers and crew on board, most of them Cypriots going on holiday. The Boeing came down as two Greek F-16 were accompanying it after it failed to respond to calls from Athens control tower.
Tsolakis, speaking after a meeting with Cyprus’ Minister of Communications and Works Haris Thrasou, said that in the reconstruction F-16 will fly along the commercial aircraft to reconstruct all that happened on that fatal day in the Greek skies, including the take off from Larnaca airport at exactly the same time as the time of the last flight.
In his remarks, Thrasou appeared certain that the conclusions of the Greek Commission will “satisfy all those who are anxiously waiting for the outcome of the work we have undertaken.”
He said the government was very pleased with the course of the investigations by the Greek Commission, which cooperates with its Cypriot counterpart.
“We are also in close cooperation with regard to problems civil aviation in Cyprus has to tackle and we are trying to improve further the safety of the air industry and in general air transport,” Thrasou added.