Prosecution against army officer in commando’s death

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Police will be launching criminal proceedings against a National Guard officer over the death of a 27-year-old special forces soldier in June.

Investigators into the fatal accident of 27-year-old commando Panayiotis Yiannios said they would be exploring charges, including causing death by a thoughtless, reckless, or dangerous act, at a military court.

Reportedly, investigators decided after receiving evidence from the helicopter’s black box that carried him before dropping him to his death off Lara Bay, Paphos.

The black box had been sent to Italy after a request for judicial assistance from the Italian authorities.

Investigators were greenlighted to go to the factory of the manufacturing company to obtain recordings of the conversations inside the helicopter.

So far, police investigations were hinting at responsibilities over how the exercise was carried out, most notably that the helicopter was flying too high, at the wrong angle, with the side doors open.

Yiannios died in June after he jumped from a helicopter as part of a scheduled military exercise and fell into the sea in the Lara area in Akamas.

During the soldier’s fatal drop, five people were in the cabin, including two pilots and a cameraman recording footage for a promotional video.

He was injured after jumping from a helicopter during a military search and rescue exercise on 27 June, succumbing to his injuries two days later.

After the incident, the officer was treated for multiple spine fractures and brain swelling at Nicosia General.

It is one of several fatal accidents during army exercises in recent years.