Mysterious Boeing 737 Crash In Greece Kills 121
A Boeing 737 flown by Helios Airways, a Cyprus airline, crashed into a mountainside north of Athens yesterday after the pilot reported problems with cabin air systems. There were no survivors. According to early reports, the jet departed from Cyprus at 9 a.m. and lost contact with controllers at 10:30 a.m. Two Greek F-16 fighter jets were scrambled to intercept the aircraft, and one of the F-16 pilots reported abeam the airliner at 34,000 feet that he could not see the captain in the cockpit and the co-pilot appeared to be slumped in his seat, according to Reuters. The Associated Press reported that Greek government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said on a subsequent flyby, the F-16 pilots, "saw two people apparently trying to take control of the Boeing 737. It was unclear whether they were passengers or pilots." At the crash site, some passengers were found to be wearing oxygen masks. One passenger sent a text message to a relative, saying "The pilot has turned blue ... Cousin farewell we're freezing," Reuters reported. "Although there are precedents for both pilots losing consciousness at the controls of aircraft in the past, for it to happen on a large airliner like a Boeing 737, with all the backup systems they have there, does seem to be really quite extraordinary," Kieran Daly, editor of Air Transport Intelligence, told Reuters. The airplane was en route to Prague via Athens.