Cyprus looks for Helios justice

Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos pledged on Sunday that those responsible for last year’s Helios Airways crash outside Athens killing all 121 on board, will be held accountable. «As I promised on the first day of the accident, the case will be investigated in depth and responsibility will be apportioned where it exists,» Papadopoulos told reporters after attending a memorial service. «That is what I said then and that is what is happening… everything has to be done according to the law, otherwise the findings will be invalid,» he added. A Greek crash investigation into the accident on August 14, 2005, has yet to be published and a Cyprus police probe has so far proved inconclusive, while an on-island public enquiry has been adjourned until the Greek findings are known. The delay has added to frustrations of the relatives who demand that justice is seen to be done. Greek crash investigation chief Akrivos Tsolakis said his team is working «day and night» to produce a thorough report «without gray areas» on the Helios Airways crash by early September. There were church services across Cyprus on Sunday in memory of those who lost their lives – mainly Cypriot families with children. Papadopoulos was attending a service in Paralimni, a small town on the south coast that lost 12 residents in the crash. A year after the jet slammed into a hillside in Greece, grieving relatives remain in the dark over what caused one of the world’s most «bizarre» airline disasters. An Helios Boeing 737-300 left Larnaca airport and flew on auto-pilot for almost three hours before it crashed under mysterious circumstances. The Larnaca to Prague via Athens flight flew on auto-pilot because the pilots were somehow incapacitated soon after the aircraft took off from Larnaca. According to Tsolakis a series of factors had contributed to the crash, caused by the failure of the pressurization system. Some 190 relatives will travel from Cyprus to the crash site at Grammatiko, northeast of Athens, to attend a memorial service and hold prayers today. (AFP)

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