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Cyprus Economy

Cyprus court orders retrial over Helios air crash

11 December, 2012

The Supreme Court of Cyprus has ordered a retrial for the now defunct Helios airline and former senior executives who were acquitted of charges over the 2005 crash in Greece that killed all 121 people on board.

In a majority decision, the full-bench court in Nicosia upheld an appeal filed by Attorney General Petros Clerides against a 2011 verdict which cleared the airline and four executives of manslaughter and negligence charges.
In a separate trial in Greece last April, three of the executives were convicted in absentia of manslaughter and negligence and sentenced to ten years in prison. Their lawyers at the time said they would appeal.
The August 14, 2005 crash on a hillside at Grammatiko north of Athens was the deadliest ever recorded in Greece or Cyprus.
Investigators said a failure to switch a valve regulating oxygen supply to the aircraft knocked its pilots and most of the passengers unconscious shortly after the plane took off from Larnaca. The airline's safety culture drew criticism.
The Boeing 737-300 jet flew on autopilot in Greek air space for two hours before it ran out of fuel and smashed into a hillside.
Greek air force pilots scrambled to trail the aircraft when it failed to make radio contact saw a lone man at the controls of the plane, apparently trying in vain to avert the disaster.