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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 06-07-05

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The Cyprus National Guard MI 35 helicopter which crashed Wednesday morning in the western part of the island did not present any mechanical problems before, Cypriot Minister of Defence Phivos Klokkaris said, adding that before any flight of a helicopter a certain procedure, which includes a technical check, is observed.

    Replying to questions about the tragic event which resulted in the death of the two members of its crew, Cypriot National Guard Flight Lieutenant Andreas Papasozomenos and Russian pilot and trainer Yuri Oleynik, Klokkaris said that helicopters MI 35 and specifically this helicopter ``was functioning normally and had undergone the anticipated maintenance.``

    Klokkaris also said that the Control Tower had not received any distress signal from the helicopter, while invited to say whether there was any other communication with the Control Tower, he said that he only referred to the distress signal and that he cannot say for the moment if there was any other communication.

    The Minister of Defence said that the reasons of the crash are being investigated ``and we are interested to know the soonest possible the results of this investigation, to ascertain which these reasons are, if it was a human mistake, a problem of the materials or any other omission.``

    Klokkaris noted that the black box recorder has been found and that, with a view to contribute to the efforts of investigating the reasons of the crash, experts from the Greek Ministry of National Defence are arriving on the island, while the Russian company which provided the helicopters will also send two experts.

    He said that the National Guard pilot was experienced and that the Russian trainer was in Cyprus along with other trainers, in the framework of a convention with the company, to provide the necessary training.

    Klokkaris expressed deep sorrow and grief as well as solidarity with the relatives of the two men, noting that ``the loss of personnel and military systems is a blow to the National Guard.``

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