14
Dec

Cypriot plane with 121 on board crashes in Greece

Sunday, August 14, 2005

A Helios airliner (Boeing 737, flight HCY 522) with 115 passengers and 6 crew onboard has crashed into a mountain at 09:04 UTC (12:04 p.m. EEST) near Grammatiko, 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of Athens, while approaching the capital’s airport. All on board perished. The plane was travelling from Larnaca, in the southeast of Cyprus (Greek:Kypros, ??????) and scheduled to arrive in Prague after a stop in Athens.

Immediately after take-off, the pilots reported a problem with the air conditioning system of the aircraft and requested to stay at a low altitude. A few minutes later, the pilots alerted the station that the problem had been fixed and requested permission to ascend. This information however has been denied by the Director of Helios Airways. As the plane approached Athens, all communication abruptly ceased, and the plane never issued a mayday distress signal. Two Greek F-16 military aircraft were assigned to observe the plane. The pilots of the F-16s noted that one airliner pilot appeared to be unconscious and the other was not in the cockpit.

CBC reported the following:

On Wednesday [August 17, 2005], state-run and private media, quoting anonymous defense ministry officials, said the two fighter pilots saw someone in the cockpit take control of the plane, which was flying in a gradually descending holding pattern apparently on autopilot. That person, probably a man who experts say must have had flight training, then banked the plane away from Athens, lowering it to 2,000 feet and then climbing back up to 7,000 feet before the plane apparently ran out of fuel and crashed.

The F-16s accompanied the airliner until it crashed.

The Greek F-16 pilots saw at least one of the aircraft’s pilots may have become unconscious before the crash, causing control of the plane to be lost. The emergency oxygen masks were also reported to have dropped.

There had been speculation that an electrical fire or some other cause could have flooded the cabin with carbon monoxide or another gas that would render the passengers unconscious. However, the chief coroner of Athens, Greece, said that tests showed none of the passengers or crew had carbon monoxide in their blood. It was also speculated that the air-supply system of the aircraft may have failed, causing a loss of air pressure within the cockpit. This malfunction can cause a steep drop in air temperature. On December 16, 2004 the same aircraft made an emergency landing after failure of the ventilation system at 35,000 feet and 3 passengers were hospitalized. However, an airline spokesman insisted that the plane was airworthy when it took off.

Tests showed that at least 26 people on the flight were still alive when it crashed.

After a cabin decompression occurred onboard a Learjet carrying golf pro Payne Stewart in 1999, all the travelers lost consciousness and the plane eventually crashed with no survivors.

Helios Airlines was unable to supply a complete passenger list, having only first initials and surnames available for investigators.

The official passenger list released by Cyprus Police, as reported by CNA, indicates that there were 22 young persons onboard aged 4-16. Most of the passengers were Cypriot, a small number were Greek and one of the pilots was German. There were 4 Armenian passengers who lived in Cyprus.

The complete list, in Greek, has been published by the Cyprus News Agency.

After the crash, a fire started around the airliner. It was extinguished by firefighters after 2 hours. The fire burned most of the bodies that are now being collected by special firefighter units and transferred to the city of Shisto, near Athens. Meanwhile, the two F-16 pilots were transferred to Ministry of Defense to give their report.

The flight data recorder has been recovered. The cockpit voice recorder was found the following morning in bad condition. The two devices will be sent to Paris for examination.

Nektarios-Sotirios Voutas [1][2] reported that a passenger (his cousin) sent a text message that read: “The pilot has turned blue [in the face]. [F]arewell we’re freezing”. He was arrested the following day as it appeared to be a hoax [3].

Helios has informed the relatives of the victims; however, the company has been met with criticism for failing to release the passenger list quickly.

Helios Airways released a statement on their website today, stating, “Our thoughts are with the families of those on board at this difficult time.”

An emergency telephone number in Nicosia, Cyprus can be contacted at +357/70003737, 22 – 446146.

The Cypriot government has declared three days of national mourning and ordered flags to be lowered on half-mast.

Upon allegations brought by the Communications and Works Minister and the chief of police, warrants were issued by the attorney general to search Helios Airways offices [4]

  • 09:00 (06:00 UTC) Scheduled departure time.
  • 09:07 (06:07 UTC) Airplane takes off from Larnaka airport.
  • 10:30 (07:30 UTC) Flight fails to establish contact with the Eleftherios Venizelos Airport
  • 10:37 (07:37 UTC) Last contact with Larnaka airport reporting problem.
  • 10:45 (07:45 UTC) Scheduled arrival time in Athens.
  • 10:55 (07:55 UTC) The Hellenic Armed Forces Joint Chief of Staff, Admiral Panagiotis Chinofotis orders military planes to establish visual contact with the aircraft.
  • 11:05 (08:05 UTC) Two F-16 fighter planes take off from Néa Anghialos Air Base, Greece.
  • 11:18 (08:18 UTC) Fighter pilots note co-pilot slumped over the aircraft’s instrument panel.
  • 12:04 (09:04 UTC) Aircraft crashes near Grammatiko.
  • 13:10 (11:10 UTC) Scheduled arrival time in Prague.

Cyprus and Greece are UTC+3, Czech Republic is UTC+2.

Helios Airways was founded in 1999 as Cyprus’ first private airline. It is now a subsidiary of Libra Holidays Group of Limassol, Cyprus and is registered in Cyprus. Helios’ remaining fleet consists of 2 Boeing 737-800 jets and an Airbus A319. Helios offers flights between Cyprus and London, Athens, Sofia, Warsaw, Dublin and Strasbourg.

12
Dec

News briefs:June 11, 2010

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12
Dec

Category:May 31, 2010

? May 30, 2010
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12
Dec

Sweden’s Crown Princess marries long-time boyfriend

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sweden’s first royal wedding since 1976 took place Saturday when Crown Princess Victoria, 32, married her long-time boyfriend and former personal trainer, Daniel Westling, 36. The ceremony took place at Stockholm Cathedral.

Over 1,200 guests, including many rulers, politicians, royals and other dignitaries from across the world, attended the wedding, which cost an estimated 20 million Swedish kronor. Victoria wore a wedding dress with five-metre long train designed by Pär Engsheden. She wore the same crown that her mother, Queen Silvia, wore on her wedding day 34 years previously, also on June 19. Victoria’s father, King Carl XVI Gustaf, walked Victoria down the aisle, which was deemed untraditional by many. In Sweden, the bride and groom usually walk down the aisle together, emphasising the country’s views on equality. Victoria met with Daniel half-way to the altar, where they exchanged brief kisses, and, to the sounds of the wedding march, made their way to the the silver altar. She was followed by ten bridesmaids. The couple both had tears in their eyes as they said their vows, and apart from fumbling when they exchanged rings, the ceremony went smoothly.

Following the ceremony, the couple headed a fast-paced procession through central Stockholm on a horse-drawn carriage, flanked by police and security. Up to 500,000 people are thought to have lined the streets. They then boarded the Vasaorden, the same royal barge Victoria’s parents used in their wedding, and traveled through Stockholm’s waters, accompanied by flyover of 18 fighter jets near the end of the procession. A wedding banquet followed in the in the Hall of State of the Royal Palace.

Controversy has surrounded the engagement and wedding between the Crown Princess and Westling, a “commoner”. Victoria met Westling as she was recovering from bulemia in 2002. He owned a chain of gymnasiums and was brought in to help bring Victoria back to full health. Westling was raised in a middle-class family in Ockelbo, in central Sweden. His father managed a social services centre, and his mother worked in a post office. When the relationship was made public, Westling was mocked as an outsider and the king was reportedly horrified at the thought of his daughter marrying a “commoner”, even though he did so when he married Silvia. Last year, Westling underwent transplant surgery for a congenital kidney disorder. The Swedish public have been assured that he will be able to have children and that his illness will not be passed on to his offspring.

Westling underwent years of training to prepare for his new role in the royal family, including lessons in etiquette, elocution, and multi-lingual small talk; and a makeover that saw his hair being cropped short, and his plain-looking glasses and clothes being replaced by designer-wear.

Upon marrying the Crown Princess, Westling took his wife’s ducal title and is granted the style “His Royal Highness”. He is now known as HRH Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland. He also has his own coat-of-arms and monogram. When Victoria assumes the throne and becomes Queen, Daniel will not become King, but assume a supportive role, similar to that of Prince Phillip, the husband of the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II.

11
Dec

Lyon lose at home; drop out of Champions League

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Olympique Lyonnais 0(2) 2(4) AS Roma
Match Stats
Attendance 41000
Goalscorers for Olympique Lyonnais None
Goalscorers for AS Roma Totti (22), Mancini (44)
Bookings (Olympique Lyonnais) Tiago, Cris, Kallstrom, Fred (Yellow (4))
Bookings (AS Roma) Perrotta, Pizarro (Yellow (2))

A full crowd showed up at the Stade de Gerland in Lyon earlier today, only to watch their home side fall to Roma of Italy. The previous leg in the series saw the two teams draw 0-0 which gave Roma a slight advantage from the start, as a draw would allow them to advance. The previous match was extremely undisciplined, and Roma was given eight yellow cards. The Italian side showed a much calmer demeanor this game, earning only two yellows in comparison to Lyon’s four.

Lyon produced the first chance of the game as Romas keeper Alexandre Doni was unable to cope with Juninho, but defender Philippe Mexes was able to clear the ball from nearby strikers. Roma had their own chance soon after, as Daniele De Rossi was left open, and he headed the ball home. The goal was disallowed by the referee after he spotted a push by De Rossi on Eric Abidal. Juninho continued to threaten Roma, but his crosses were not able to do any damage to the Rossinari. Lyon fell behind on 22 minutes when Max Tonetto clipped a cross into the middle, and Francesco Totti was in the right place to head the ball past Gregory Coupet. Crosses continued to be the only attack Lyon could muster, and they produced a good chance off a Juninho corner kick. The ball ricoched off several players before Squillaci latch on for a shot, but the ball was sent directly at Doni, and the keeper made the save. Mancini then doubled the visitors lead just before halftime. After some quick stepovers to fool Anthony Reveillere, he struck the ball soundly into the top corner of the net.

After the break, Roma could have killed off the game indefinitely, as Tadei beat Lyon’s offside trap, but was unable to regain the composure required to smash the ball home. Doni then produced a few saves for Roma, kicking out Sylvan Wiltord’s shot, and then diving to palm away a curling shot by Juninho. Both teams then made vain attempts for a penalty, but both Fred and Perrotta diving, but the referee made the right decisions and awarded only a yellow to Perrotta. Fred was then given a yellow for cruelly smashing Chivu in the face with his arm. Fred was lucky to receive a red for his actions. Roma held on for the win, and the 5 time french champions bowed out of the Champions League.

10
Dec

Three hostages return home to Florida

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Three American hostages – Marc Gonsalves, Thomas Howes, and Keith Stansell – that were being held in Colombia by FARC are now free. They are safely in Florida after their rescue by Colombian forces; 12 other hostages were rescued at the same time. They received care from the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio before being sent home to their families. The men were taken captive when their drug surveillance plane went down in the jungles of Colombia in 2003 – more than 5 years ago. All three of the men were working for a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Corporation at the time.

Keith Stansell emphasized that while he was grateful to be home, no one should “forget the people that are still there”. “Because of our rescue, there are fellow hostages that are still there,” Stansell said. He reminded those listening that some of the remaining hostages have already been in captivity for 10 years, in squalid conditions. “You wait for a day like yesterday and today, you know, for the end, you… you want it to end,” added Marc Gonsalves.

10
Dec

Eyewitness account: from the streets of Bangkok

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A businessman currently representing his place of employment in Thailand has left the following eyewitness account for Wikinews:

“How safe are the streets of Bangkok? As a somewhat nervous US citizen holed up in a hotel room in this massive South Asian metropolis, I decided to venture forth and see for myself. For courage as much as anything, I walked with my close friend and business partner, who like me, hails from San Diego, California.
“I left my suite at the Royal River Hotel and walked down Soi Charansandwong, the narrow street that leads from the hotel to the busy road that crosses the city and shortly thereafter, the Chao Phraya River, known as the ‘River of Kings.’
“Thailand does, indeed, love their kings, or particularly, their current King. Evidence of this is clear: at least a third of the people walking on the streets wear the ‘King Shirt,’ a bright yellow shirt that bears the crest of the King.
“Even newsreaders on the local television news can sometimes be seen wearing the yellow shirt as a showing of support for the King.
“Leaving the alleyway, we walked to the busy Thonburi district. Immediately, I could see a group of soldiers, some standing, others sitting, along a sidewalk on the main street. They had set up a check point, but I saw but one vehicle stopped, a beat up truck that appeared to have come in from the countryside, loaded with fruit.
“We passed all the various businesses along the street as we walked, all open and apparently unaffected by the Coup.
“Walking slowly down to where the soldiers were and smiling at them as we walked, we approached the man who appeared to be the commanding officer. He smiled back and asked us where we were from. He was a bit business like at first, but this was a man who had a job to do, of course. What his overall job was, I am not sure. It appears that the military, for the most part, is present as a show of support and to act if any anti-Coup action should take place. Perhaps they are merely present to keep the peace.
“My friend noticed that the soldiers appeared to be uncomfortable in their uniforms, not the most comfortable clothing to wear in the hot and humid world that is Bangkok.
“Each soldier, unable to wear a yellow shirt and stay in uniform, instead bore a yellow ribbon of support for the King, usually tied to his rifle.
“Walking back to a small stand, we purchased twenty bottles of cold drinks and returned to the soldiers and handed them to the officer in charge. He smiled and accepted the offering and handed them out to his men.
“As we continued to walk down the sidewalk, three women came out of their shop, one wearing a yellow king shirt, and they thanked us for the gesture.
“The streets of Bangkok, otherwise, appeared completely normal in all respects. Street vendors hawked various items of food, car shops were installing high tech stereo systems and dogs, here and there, sat quietly in whatever shady spot they could find.
“We crossed the street and walked down an alleyway to the nearest Temple. Walking on the cool, green grounds of the Temple complex, the Coup felt like it was a million miles distant. Bowing and placing our palms together, we greeted a monk on the grounds who was trimming a hedge. Despite the Coup, Bangkok seemingly remains peaceful in all respects. We could smell the delightful scent of freshly cut grass.
“Earlier, I asked the doorman at the Royal River Hotel what he thought about the Coup. ‘We needed it, ” he smiled, “things were too corrupt. Don’t worry. It should all be over in three days or so.’
“Perhaps. But, certainly, I felt no danger on the street from the army or from anyone I encountered. Returning to Soi Charansandwong, I approached an ATM and withdrew a couple of hundred dollars worth of Baht, the currency of Thailand, with my US bank issued card.
“Money in hand, I entered a tailor shop and sat down with the shop manager, who was from India, and ordered a new suit to be made. As he measured me, I asked if business had been slowed due to the Coup. ‘No, not at all. I sold a suit today to another American, as a matter of fact.’ He promised me that my suit, which included two pairs of pants and two custom made dress shirts, would be ready early the next morning.
“We left the alleyway and once again walked down the busy road. The commanding officer gave us a very big smile this time as we passed him and several of the soldiers gave smaller, shy smiles as we passed. Encouraged, we once again popped into a small shop and bought additional soft drinks to hand out.”
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

9
Dec

Learn How To Choose Between Fibre Internet Providers

byAlma Abell

If you need to install internet service or want to upgrade to something better, you may be considering fibre internet. It utilises fibre-optic lines and is a unique access point. Cable and DSL transmit the electrical information via copper lines while fibre internet providers utilise tiny plastic or glass strands that aren’t much bigger than a single piece of hair. They also carry binary light transmissions, which is more suitable for reliability and fast speeds.

Why it’s Faster

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The internet speed you get depends on how much data the particular infrastructure can handle. Copper wires are used by cable and DSL providers and were designed to transmit voices only, so they have a lower data threshold that they can handle at one time.

Satellite internet is also a consideration, but you probably won’t see faster speeds. Because the information has to travel longer distances through satellite, it has roughly the same speed as DSL or cable. You can see up to 100 Mbps, but that’s the maximum, and most providers can’t get you that high.

However, fibre internet providers transfer the data via modulated light rather than electricity. Therefore, they can get you a higher bandwidth capacity. Their connections can handle up to one gigabit per second, which is 100 times faster than copper connections. High-end speeds top out at 10 Gbps, though average speeds are between 50 and 100 Mbps.

Other Benefits

While speed is usually what most people consider when focused on any ISPs, fibre-optic lines can carry more information over longer distances. You get a better signal and higher bandwidth because the fibre cables can run as much as 40 kilometres while copper cables can only travel about 100 metres before signal strength is affected. Therefore, you have fewer cables and a better signal.

9
Dec

Four teenagers killed in car crash in Birmingham, England

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Four teenage boys are dead after a car crash in Birmingham, England. The collision, which occurred at around 0345 GMT in the suburb of Moseley, involved four boys crashing a blue Rover into a wall on Salisbury Road. The ages of the adolescents are reported as 15, 16, and 17; the age of the fourth teenager is unconfirmed. All four died at the scene.

“Police can confirm three of the boys in the car were 17, 15 and 16 years old,” the West Midlands Police said in a statement. “The age of the fourth boy is yet to be confirmed. All four occupants of the car died at the scene. A police car in the area at the time was flagged down by a member of the public, who heard the collision take place. Officers responded to the incident immediately.”

The car itself is not believed to have been stolen. “Crews arrived to find a car which had been in a significant collision with a wall,” a spokesperson for the West Midlands Ambulance Service said. “The four occupants of the car all suffered serious multiple injuries in the crash. Unfortunately nothing could be done to save the men and they were all confirmed dead at the scene.”

8
Dec

Investigation into US Airways river ditching in New York completed

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has completed its investigation into the ditching of US Airways Flight 1549 into New York’s Hudson River. The fifteen-month probe began after the Airbus A320 performed a water landing when bird strikes damaged both engines in a move dubbed the “Miracle on the Hudson” by the media. Nobody was killed.

The NTSB’s final report, adopted after a board meeting today, concluded that a combination of safety equipment better than the mandatory minimums and good reactions by the crew were the main reasons the 150 passengers and five crew survived. The board stated that the aircraft’s equipment met the standards required for “extended overwater operations”, equipment that was not needed for the January 2009 flight.

The aircraft was equiped with escape slides that doubled as water rafts at the front and aft emergency exits, but the aft ones were rendered unavailable. Airbus assumed when designing the aircraft that only one engine would be inoperative during an emergency ditching, and current emergency checklists assume plenty of prior warning for dual-engine failure since the aircraft would be at a high altitude. The A320 was at just 2,700 feet when the incident occurred, having just taken off when it collided with a flock of Canada geese, almost completely removing the engines’ ability to generate thrust.

The final report has blamed a number of factors for extensive fuselage damage caused in the impact, which cracked a rear bulkhead and caused the aircraft to flood, as well as taking the rear slides out of action. The board said standards aircraft should meet in ditchings – set by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) – were inadequate, training in industry was not sufficient for ditchings and the high level of tasks the crew had to focus on made it difficult for the pilot to maintain his airspeed. The pilot’s decision to ditch was credited as being the best possible solution to the emergency.

The NTSB noted that while the rear rafts failed, 64 people climbed into the forward rafts, and said many of these people would have been immersed in the frigid river. The board claimed that this could induce “cold shock”, which can lead to drowning within minutes.

The report found that the good visibility, calm water, nearby ferries which provided rescues within twenty minutes and good cockpit resource management, allowing the crew to maintain control, were further factors that contributed to the survival of those on board. However, it also found that “more creative and effective methods of conveying safety information to passengers” are required after learning that most passengers had not paid attention to the in-flight safety announcement. It also noted that many passengers had difficulty putting on the life vests supplied under the seats.

The report further stated that the accident was hard to predict due to the fact that bird strikes tend to occur much lower, usually below 500 feet. It considered the possibilities of fitting engine screens or redesigning engines to mitigate bird strike risk, but these proposals were rejected after consideration since they were deemed unfeasable.

NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman described the circumstances as “a great example of the professionalism of the crewmembers, air traffic controllers and emergency responders who all played a role in preserving the safety of everyone aboard.” She further discussed the safety recommendations the report will contain when it is released. “I believe the safety recommendations that have come out of this investigation have an extraordinary origin – a very serious accident in which everyone survived. Even in an accident where everyone survives, there are lessons learned and areas that could use improvement. Our report today takes these lessons learned so that, if our recommendations are implemented, every passenger and crewmember may have the opportunity to benefit from the advances in safety.” A total of 35 recommendations have been made seeking improved checklists for emergencies, better certification standards for aircraft and their engines, advances in crew training, better safety equipment and improved safety briefings to passengers.

One result of these findings is that the board will likely ask the FAA to require emergency equipment for water landings on all commercial aircraft. The FAA has until now held that such a move would place a disproportionately high cost on airlines.