Helios Boeing Crash

Sunday, August 14, 2005
By George Hatcher

Click to view full size photo at Airliners.net
Contact photographer Savvas Petoussis

What: Helios Airlines Boeing 737-300 en route from Larnaka Airport to Ruzyn? International Airport
Where: Marathon, Greece
When: August 14, 2005
Who: 115 passengers and 6 crew
Why: Before take-off the crew failed to set the pressurisation system to “Auto,” which is contrary to standard Boeing procedures. Minutes after take-off the cabin altitude horn activated as a result of pressurization. It was, however, misidentified by the crew as a take-off configuration warning, On August 14, 2005, a Helios Airline Boeing 737-300, registered in Cyprus as 5B-DBY crashed into rolling terrain north northeast of Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport (LGAV), Athens, Greece. The nearest town to the crash site was Gramitikos, Greece. The aircraft had departed Larnaka Airport, Cyprus, two hours and 57 minutes prior to the accident.

The NTSB team joined investigators from the Greek Air Accident Investigation and Aviation Safety Board, the Boeing Company, and CFM, the aircraft’s engine manufacturer. The crash was caused by pilot incapacitation due to hypoxia brought about by depressurization, leading to fuel starvation. 121 died in the crash.

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