February 4, 2023

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115 passengers, 6 crew, 34k feet altitude… How a plane ‘button’ claimed 121 lives – Helios Flight 522 crashes in Greece 2005 Cyprus en route to Czech Republic lclt 121 dead on board

14 August 2005, it was morning. The Helios flight was ready to fly from Larnaca, Cyprus to Prague, Czech Republic. But in between he stayed in Athens, Greece. The flight took off around 9 am. At that time there were 115 passengers and 6 crew members on board.

It was piloted by 58-year-old German pilot Hans Jürgen Merten. He has a total of 16,900 hours of flying experience. His co-pilot, 51-year-old Bambos Saralambos, has 7,549 hours of flying experience. At the same time, Andreas Prodromo took command as a flight attendant.

Daily Mail reported that the plane reached an altitude of 12,400 feet at 9:12 a.m. 12 minutes after takeoff. Immediately after reaching this height, the plane suddenly started sounding an alarm. Upon investigating the alarm, it turned out to be a takeoff configuration warning alarm, which shocked both pilots. This is because the take-off structure alarm sounds when the aircraft is grounded and not ready for take-off. Both the pilots could not understand the reason for sounding the alarm at a height of more than 12,000 feet under such circumstances.

Realizing the seriousness of the situation, the two contacted air traffic control. While the pilots were telling all this to the ATC, several alarms on the cockpit panel of the aircraft started sounding simultaneously. With these voices, the pilot’s voice did not reach the ATC properly. At the same time, the plane’s master warning alarm also started sounding. This means that many of the aircraft’s systems overheat at the same time. Both pilots’ problems now began to mount. They could not understand anything about what was happening.

Photo by Ms. (Facebook- Wind Disasters)

Trouble breathing
After knowing all this, there was a chaotic atmosphere in the plane. Staff are constantly trying to reassure passengers. In no time the passengers had difficulty breathing. Just then the oxygen masks came down automatically. At the time the plane was at an altitude of 18,000 feet. The pilots tried to contact ATC several times and tell them about their problem. But his words did not reach ATC. Later his connection with ATC was also completely severed. ATC also tried to contact him. But he got no answer.

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The plane flies in the air
There, the plane continued to move upwards. The average flight time on this route is 1 hour 45 minutes. This means that the flight was scheduled to land at Athens airport at 10.45 am. At 9:23, the plane was at an altitude of 34,000 feet. Following this, at 9.37 am, the flight reached the flight information area of ​​Athens. Between 10:12 and 10:50, the Athens ATC crew attempted to contact the pilot via radio control. But he got no answer. It is now 10:45. But the plane still hasn’t landed.

Two fighter jets were dispatched
Anticipating an accident, Greek authorities sent two of their best F-16 fighter jets to locate the plane. In no time, these fighters found the Helios plane. A fighter plane also came very close to this plane. See what’s going on inside. He saw that no one was sitting in the co-pilot’s seat in the plane. Meanwhile, the chief pilot is dozing in his seat. Then this fighter plane went back. From there, he surveyed the conditions inside the plane. But to the fighter’s pilot’s surprise, none of the passengers saw him. He got no reaction from any passenger.

The left side engine stopped working
At around 11.49 am, the pilot of the fighter jet saw a man walking through the cabin towards the cockpit. He was later seen sitting in the pilot’s seat moments later. On seeing him, the pilots of the fighter signaled and wanted to know the situation. This person also wanted to say something to the pilots of the fighter plane. But he couldn’t say anything. Then the left engine of the plane stopped working. Then the plane turned to the left and started falling rapidly.

The plane crashed near the mountains
The man in the pilot’s seat tried to control the plane but failed. Following this, around 12 o’clock the right side engine of the aircraft also stopped working. Now the plane is completely out of control. The plane then crashed at 12.04 minutes near the Grammatico Mountains, 40 kilometers from Athens. All on board died in the crash.

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Photo by Ms. (Facebook- Wind Disasters)

The occupants of the plane were already dead
The pilots of the fighter plane were shocked to see all this. Because this plane crashed in front of his eyes. The news of this plane crash spread like wildfire in Greece. The rescue operation started immediately. 121 bodies were found and exhumed. But when the autopsies were conducted on some of the dead in the crash, a very shocking thing came to light. It was found that almost everyone on the plane, including the pilot, had already died. So now the biggest question here is who was in control of the plane when the two pilots died two hours ago.

Who operated the plane?
The investigation found that flight attendant Andreas Prodromo had handled the plane after the pilots died. Because Andreas’ voice was finally heard by ATC. After about 5 minutes, Mayday called for help. Andreas had a UK commercial pilot’s licence. But he is not experienced enough to control an aircraft like Boeing 737. But despite this, he managed to take flight from the dense population. Imagine what would have happened if this plane had crashed in a busy area.

The investigating officer found the mistake
Experts have started an investigation to find out the cause of the incident. As to why the plane banked to the left, the left side of the plane ran out of fuel. But the cause of this accident is yet to be ascertained. Then an investigating officer’s eyes fell on a button on the control panel. This button was to set the pressure of the plane. On seeing this button, the investigating officer understood everything about how the accident happened.

In fact, the pressurize button controls the air pressure in an entire vessel. Because of this, the outside engines force the outside air in little by little. This will provide oxygen to the people sitting inside the plane. Normally this button is placed only in automatic mode. Sometimes it is also done manually and then the pilot and co-pilot have to take care of it.

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Photo by Ms. (Facebook- Wind Disasters)

There was a mistake
After that, if the investigation continues, the main cause of the accident will also be known. In fact, when this world went for its routine service, the service personnel there put its push button in manual mode. Both pilots did not notice that the button was not in automatic mode while the plane was flying. Instead, it is in manual mode. Due to this, the level of oxygen in the plane began to gradually decrease and the rest of the occupants began to grow restless. He couldn’t breathe. The pilots tried to find out the reason for this but they did not notice this button. Then the oxygen level in the cockpit decreased and both the pilots fainted. At the same time, all the passengers and crew slowly fainted. Then people died due to lack of oxygen.

The flight attendant tried to control the plane
After that the plane moved towards Athens on autopilot mode only. But one was alive. He was flight attendant Andreas Prodromo. In fact, Andreas is a scuba diver. That is why he had the experience of holding his breath for a long time. But due to lack of oxygen, his health also started to deteriorate in no time. Even then he somehow tried to control the plane. But unfortunately the plane could not succeed and crashed.

15 months after the incident, Greek authorities submitted a report on the incident. It was said that only one button was responsible for the incident. That’s the plane’s pressurize button. Had he been in auto mode, the accident would not have happened.