Date set for trial on Falcon deaths

The pilot and co-pilot of the government Falcon jet on which seven people, including Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis and his son, died in a freak accident two years ago, are to stand trial on January 8, 2002. The plane went into a series of wild dives on its approach to Bucharest on September 14, 1999, before the pilots regained control. Yiannis Androulakis and his co-pilot, Grigoris Sinekoglou, face charges of manslaughter and grievous bodily harm through negligence. The charges were based on a report by aviation experts that attributed the accident to human error, among other causes. Androulakis claims the plane’s repeated dives were due to a malfunctioning of the automatic pilot. Among the other attributed causes was a failure to turn on the fasten seat belt sign, as all those killed were not wearing seat belts. The council encouraged Annan and Alvaro de Soto, his special adviser on Cyprus, to follow earlier UN guidelines namely that there should be no preconditions and that all issues are on the table, Levitte said.

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