Helicopter salvage bid due to start

A navy-run operation to raise the wreckage of an army Chinook helicopter that crashed into the sea on September 11 killing all 17 people on board is expected to start in deep waters off Mount Athos today or tomorrow. Late yesterday, the Aegaio oceanographic research vessel – which located the fuselage at a depth of 866 meters four days after the crash – along with a navy transport ship, a water tanker and a tug, were due to arrive in the area prior to the start of the salvage bid. The helicopter, carrying a church delegation led by Petros, Patriarch of Alexandria and head of the Orthodox Church in Africa, on a visit to Mount Athos, crashed some eight miles southwest of the peninsula. The authorities have ruled out foul play. Meanwhile, military officials have completed an investigation into why nearly three hours elapsed between the crash and the start of the search and rescue operation. Sources said the investigation found that air force radar operators and officers at the army helicopter base were primarily at fault for the delay in reporting the accident.