Crash co-pilot had 'poor relations' with pilot: wife
18 August 2005, ATHENS - Investigators probing Sunday's Cypriot airliner crash in which 121 people died are convinced that the aircraft's air- conditioning and decompression systems played a major role in the accident, reports said Thursday.
18 August 2005
ATHENS - Investigators probing Sunday's Cypriot airliner crash in which 121 people died are convinced that the aircraft's air- conditioning and decompression systems played a major role in the accident, reports said Thursday.
Experts from U.S. manufacturer Boeing have ruled out the possibility that the aircraft was shot down by either of the two Greek air force jets which had been shadowing it before it crashed into the side of a mountain in Grammatiko, approximately 40 kilometres north of Athens, the Greek daily Kathimerini said.
Two F-16 fighter jets had been scrambled to intercept the aircraft when Athens air traffic control declared it a "renegade plane" after it had failed to make contact with the crew.
Post 9/11 regulations give authorities the option of shooting down a plane if they believe it has been taken over by hijackers and could pose a danger.
The two fighter pilots reported seeing the pilot's seat empty and the co-pilot slumped over the controls, possibly unconscious.
Officials also said an F-16 pilot saw two unidentified people in the cockpit trying to regain control of the plane during the final 23 minutes of flight.
According to reports, the unidentified individual was likely 25-year-old flight attendant Andreas Prodromou, whose family has said he had a pilot's licence.
The person took control of the plane as it flew on autopilot and then backed the plane away from Athens, lowering it first to 2,000 feet and then climbing back up to 7,000 feet before the plane apparently ran out of fuel and crashed.
Investigators are focusing their investigation on a possible combined fault in the plane's air conditioning and its electric decompression system.
Initial theories had pointed to a drastic loss of air pressure, which staved the crew and passengers of oxygen but coroners conducting tests have found that the people on board were alive, although maybe not conscious, when the plane hit the ground.
Experts are intensifying efforts to find the three remaining bodies of the 121 killed, including the German pilot.
The wife of the plane's co-pilot, Charalambos Charalambous, told Kathimerini that her husband had expressed concern about the state of the aircraft on many occasions and that he kept a record of the problems in a diary, which she thinks he probably had on board with him.
Sofia Charalambous also alleged that her husband had complained about poor relations with the Cyprus airline company, Helios, and with the German pilot he flew with.
Subject: German news