Relatives of the Helios Air Disaster to Mark 12 Years since Crash

Relatives of the 121 Helios victims were due on Monday to visit the site where the plane went down at Grammatiko, in Greece, on August 14, 2005, for the annual memorial services to mark the 12th anniversary of the crash.

At the site where the Helios Airways Boeing 737 crashed, in Grammatiko, a small chapel dedicated to Virgin Mary was erected, where the annual memorials for the 121 victims take place.

On the morning of August 14, 2005, a Helios Airways Boeing 737 took off from Larnaca for a scheduled flight to Athens, in transit to Prague, its final destination.

Aboard the plane were 115 passengers, 103 Cypriots and 12 Greeks, on their way to their summer holidays, and a crew of six.

A lack of oxygen incapacitated the crew mid-flight, leading to the eventual crash of the aircraft, after it ran out of fuel, into a mountain at Grammatiko, some 40 kilometres north of Athens.

The lack of oxygen was triggered by the failure of a ground engineer running a pressurisation test prior to take-off, to reset the pressurisation system’s setting to ‘auto’ from ‘manual’, investigators later found.

With 121 fatalities, the Helios crash was the deadliest aviation disaster in Cypriot and Greek history.