23 August, 2005
Initial findings of the investigation into the crash of Helios Airways’ Boeing 737 near Athens point to cabin decompression as the possible cause of the accident that killed all 121 people on board.
Chief investigator and head of the Greek airline safety committee Akrivos Tsolakis provided Transport and Communications Minister Michalis Liapis with a progress report on the investigation on Monday.
Tsolakis said that if there was a problem with the cabin’s pressure system this would affect passengers’ physical condition and would also explain why the co-pilot seemed to be unconscious in the cockpit.
According to investigators’ findings so far, Tsolakis said that the plane went down when it ran out of fuel.
He also said that there are indications that the communications system receiver was functioning during the last 30 minutes of the flight.
As for the person seen in the cockpit by the two F-16 fighter jet pilots who approached the Cypriot jetliner after repeated attempts failed to establish contact with the plane, Tsolakis said that the person tried twice to send out an SOS but was unable to. However, the person’s voice is heard sounding weak and exhausted on the voice recorder of the second black box.
In his progress report, Tsolakis emphasizes other factors of the investigation that must be examined in-depth before conclusions can be ruled as definitive. These include medical examiners' toxicological reports, examination of the plane manufacturer's findings, testimony of all involved parties, maintenance records and data from the two black boxes.
Finally, the findings reported by Tsolakis on Monday are based on evidence gathered from the crash site, Cyprus, Greek and international authorities, as well as data contained in the plane's two black boxes.
Source: Athens News Agency