Coroner Says 5-Year-Old Boy Briefly Survived Greek Plane Crash; Died From Smoke Inhalation

August 17, 2005

At least one child on the doomed Cypriot Airline that crashed last Sunday in the mountains north of Athens, Greece survived the initial impact, but died shortly after from smoke inhalation. In all, 121 people died when the plane went down, reportedly following a problem with decompression or the plane’s air conditioning system.

Greek fighter jets sent to follow the plane after it entered Greek airspace and did not respond to commands, reported that the co-pilot of the plane was seen slumped over the controls as the plane flew. Reports say at least one or two passengers or flight attendants may have tried to save the plane before it hit the mountain. The body of the lead pilot has reportedly not been found yet.

The boy, meantime, reportedly survived the initial crash, but extensive injuries to his head and body would have likely resulted in death even had he been rescued, according to officials.

Autopsy results on 26 bodies relatives have identified indicated passengers and at least two crew members – including the co-pilot – were still alive when the plane crashed. But coroners hoped further tests would indicate whether toxic gases possibly had left them unconscious as the plane descended before crashing.

The flight traveling from Larnaca to Athens was carrying 115 passengers and six crew. The plane reportedly had problems in the past, but officials have not elaborated on that part of the investigation.
Authorities raided the offices of Helios Airways on Monday as part of their investigation into the crash and the plane’s history.

The plane’s flight data and voice recorders were recovered, but the VR was badly damaged, possibly limiting what officials may learn of the crash.

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