NEWS

Falcon trial told of likely causes

A lawyer for one of the people injured in the freak accident aboard the government’s Falcon jet, in which seven people died, yesterday accused an expert witness of giving testimony that differed from a report he had drawn up for a prosecutor. The other author of the report, Akrivos Tsolakis, said that the fatal dipping and soaring of the plane could have resulted from a problem with the automatic pilot, an external factor intervening with the system, or human error. He blamed manufacturer Dassault for not stating that speed had to be cut to below 260 knots when the Falcon’s pitch-fill indicator was on. Lawyer G. Maniatis, representing diplomat Grigoris Papadopoulos, charged that witness Alexander Fisher had claimed in the report that pilot error had been involved whereas on Tuesday he had said the pilots were not at fault in the Sept. 1999 accident over Romania. The pilot, co-pilot and eight other Olympic Airways employees have been charged with manslaughter. Fisher said he was interpreting what was in the report – that the pilots had not ordered passengers to fasten their seat belts and had not reduced speed. The trial continues. Coroner Theodoros Vouyiouklakis said the child did not appear to have been raped.