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Last Updated: Monday, 14 August 2006, 16:44 GMT 17:44 UK
Cyprus jet crash victims mourned
Relatives of Helios air crash victims at memorial service
Grieving relatives placed flowers at the site of the crash
Hundreds of mourners have attended a memorial service on a hillside north of Athens to honour the 121 victims of a mysterious air crash a year ago.

All those on board died when the Helios Airways Boeing 737-300 crashed near the Greek capital, en route from Cyprus.

The jet flew on autopilot for more than two hours after apparently losing cabin pressure. The pilots were incapacitated and the plane finally ran out of fuel.

Investigators say their final report will be published early next month.

About 150 relatives flew to Athens from Cyprus to attend the ceremony, just outside the village of Grammatiko.

The airliner was flying from Larnaca to Prague via Athens when it crashed. Most of the victims were Cypriots, many of them young children.

Akrivos Tsolakis, head of the investigating commission, also attended the ceremony.

Policeman looks at the tail of the Helios plane at the crash site
A catastrophic pressure failure is thought to be behind the crash

He said several factors had contributed to the air crash, the worst ever in Greece.

Reportedly, a pressure valve was left in the wrong position which caused the cabin to lose oxygen rapidly as it gained altitude.

The pilots of two Greek F-16s that shadowed the airliner just before the crash said they saw the co-pilot slumped over the controls and the captain was missing from the cockpit.

Last week investigators found at least one of three missing bodies from the crash. DNA tests were being conducted on the remains.

HELIOS AIRWAYS
A plane's tail fin after crashing near Athens
1999: Established as first independent airline in Cyprus
2000: First chartered flight
2001: First scheduled flight
Flies to UK, Strasbourg, Sofia, Athens, Dublin, Warsaw and Prague
Operates four Boeing 737 planes

GREECE AIR DISASTER
graph
1. 0900 [0700GMT]: Helios Airways Flight ZU522 leaves Larnaca bound for Prague via Athens
2. 0920 approx: Plane reaches cruising altitude of 35,000ft
3. 0937: Plane enters Greek airspace
4. 1007: Air traffic control unable to contact aircraft
5. 1030: Greek ATC issues "Renegade alert"
6. 1055: F16 fighter aircraft scramble
7. 1120: F16s intercept aircraft; pilots observed slumped over controls
8. 1205: Aircraft crashes near Grammatiko, 40km north of Athens




SEE ALSO
Pressure problem hit Cyprus jet
22 Aug 05 |  Europe
In pictures: Greek air crash
14 Aug 05 |  In Pictures
Q&A: Greek air crash
14 Aug 05 |  Europe

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