Evidence from British pilot could prove vital

Coroners are hoping to identify by the end of the week the bodies of all 121 people killed in the Helios plane crash as investigators look to question a British pilot who flew the doomed Boeing 737-300 a week before the accident. The unnamed pilot’s testimony may form a key part of the investigation after sources claimed he reported a problem with the air conditioning and pressure in the cabin as well as smoke coming from burnt wires when he flew the plane from Luton in the UK to Larnaca on August 7. It is not clear if his observations were noted in the plane’s logbook. The team investigating the crash is due in Cyprus on Monday to question the owners and employees of the charter airline. In the meantime, a representative of the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) told Kathimerini that during checks in 1999 and 2001 the organization had identified problems in the ability of the Cypriot Civil Aviation Authority to issue operating licenses to airlines. Meanwhile, forensic scientists are hoping DNA testing will help them identify the remaining bodies of all those aboard the Helios airliner, including the German captain, over the next few days.