The events leading up to the accident

At 12.03 p.m., on August 14, 2005, a Helios Airlines Boeing 737-300 (Flight 522) crashed on a hill near the village of Grammatiko, 35 kilometers northwest of Athens International Airport. The plane had taken off from Larnaca’s airport in Cyprus at 9.07 a.m. that morning for Athens. After takeoff, the flight crew reported various indications of malfunctions and asked technical staff on the ground for clarifications. The last contact with the crew was at 9.11 a.m. The aircraft reached a cruising altitude of 34,000 feet and followed the flight plan on autopilot. At 11.23 the aircraft was intercepted by two Greek air force F-16s, whose flight commander reported that the pilot was not in his seat and that there was no sign of life in the cockpit. c At 11.49 over the island of Kea, the F-16 crew noted that the Helios aircraft’s left engine was out and that a person could be seen entering the cockpit and then sitting in the pilot’s seat. c At 11.59 the Boeing’s second engine died and at 12.03 the aircraft crashed into the side of the hill. All those on board – 115 passengers and six crew members – were killed. Shortly before the crash the flight sound recorder had recorded a broadcast on the intercom by the person sitting in the pilot’s seat who was using the international Mayday signal. It was the cabin crew attendant Andreas Prodromou. Land and air firefighters were sent to the scene of the crash along with rescue teams, police and members of the Transport Ministry’s EDAAP.