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Nicosia criminal court today acquitted the Helios trial defendants of manslaughter and causing the death of 119 through a reckless act, after prosecutors failed to substantiate their claim that the crew were incompetent and that the company had not done enough to ensure the safety of passengers.

The prosecution had rested their case on proving that Helios Airways employed unfit pilots to fly the Boeing 737-300 jet which crashed in Greece in August 2005, killing all 121 on board.

One of the three judges opposed the acquittal, saying the pilots were responsible for the drop in cabin pressure on board the Helios flight.

The two other judges ruled that the crash had nothing to do with the competence of the pilots, that the testimonies were incongruous and that the pilots’ career history showed competence. They said they could not expect the company to have done more than it did to prevent the accident.

The defendants were former chief pilot Ianko Stoimenov; Helios board chairman Andreas Drakos; chief executive officer Demetris Pantazis, operations manager, Giorgos Kikidis and the Helios firm itself.

The Helios trial began in November 2009.

By Alexis Pantelides and Patrick Dewhurst

Published on December 21, 2011 Cyprus Mail

|||Helios suspects acquitted of all charges
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