Cyprus: Defendants in Helios Case Acquitted

The majority of the Assize Court in Nicosia, in a prima facie decision, acquitted the defendants in the case of the Helios 2005 air crash which resulted in the death of all 121 passengers and crew on board, ruling that they bear no responsibility.

The Helios Airways Boeing 737-300 was travelling from Larnaca in Cyprus to Prague when it crashed north of Athens, killing everyone on board. It was the worst aviation disaster ever in Greece or Cyprus, where most of its victims lived.

Cypriot authorities pressed charges of manslaughter and causing death through negligence against four executives of Cyprus-based Helios, which has since discontinued operations. They pleaded not guilty.

Judge Nicolas Santis has expressed his disagreement with the decision.

The five defendants are Helios as a legal person, Executive Chairman Andreas Drakos as a legal person, Helios Managing Director Demetris Pantazis, Director of Flight Operations George Kikkides and Helios chief pilot Ianco Stoimenov.