|Date||14 August 2005|
|Summary||Crashed following crew incapacitation due to loss of pressurization|
|Site||Grammatiko, Marathon, Greece |
|Aircraft type||Boeing 737-31S|
|IATA flight No.||ZU522|
|ICAO flight No.||HCY522|
|Call sign||HELIOS 522|
|Flight origin||Larnaca International Airport, Larnaca, Cyprus|
|Stopover||Athens International Airport, Greece|
|Destination||Prague Ruzyně Int'l Airport, Prague, Czech Republic|
On August 14, 2005, Helios Airways Flight 522 covered the route between Larnaca International Airport (Cyprus), and Ruzyně International Airport (Prague, Czech Republic), with a stopover in Athens (Greece). The aircraft, a Boeing 737, collided with a mountain at 09:04 UTC on that day, near Grammatiko, 40 km north of Athens (with 115 passengers and six crew members on board), while on approach to Athens airport capital. All people on board died.
It is the deadliest aviation disaster in Greek history.
Flight crew[change | change source]
The flight captain was Hans-Jürgen Merten, a 59-year-old German pilot hired by Helios for the holiday season, who had been flying for 35 years and had a total of 16,900 flight hours, 5,500 of them on Boeing 737s.
The first officer was Pampos Charalambous, a 51-year-old Cypriot pilot who had flown exclusively on Helios for the last five years, accumulating 7,549 flight hours throughout his career, 3,991 of them on the Boeing 737.
Chronology[change | change source]
|Date: 14 August 2005|
All times Eastern European Summer Time (EEST) (UTC + 3) in 24 h format
|09:07||Departs Larnaca International Airport|
|09:12||Cabin Altitude Warning sounds at |
12,040 feet (3,670 m)
|09:14||Pilots report air conditioning problem|
|09:20||Last contact with crew;|
Altitude is 28,900 feet (8,809 m)
|09:23||Now at 34,000 feet (10,400 m);|
Probably on autopilot
|09:37||Enters Athens flight information region;|
Nicosia ATC informs Athens ATC that
radio contact has been lost.:17 Aircraft begins circling Athens on autopilot
|10:12–10:50||No response to radio calls from Athens ATC|
|10:45||Scheduled arrival in Athens|
|10:54||Athens Joint Rescue Coordination Centre|
alerted to possible renegade aircraft:18
|11:05||Two F-16 fighters depart Nea Anchialos|
|11:24||Located by F-16s over Aegean island of Kea|
|11:32||Fighters see co-pilot slumped over, |
cabin oxygen deployed, no signs of terrorism
|11:49||Fighters see an individual in the cockpit,|
apparently trying to regain control of aircraft
|11:50||Left (#1) engine stops operating,|
presumably due to fuel depletion
|11:54||CVR records a total of five mayday messages|
|12:00||Right (#2) engine stops operating|
|12:04||Aircraft crashes in mountains|
near Grammatiko, Greece
Passengers[change | change source]
Cause[change | change source]
The cause of the accident was due to the fact that after takeoff, as the aircraft gained altitude, a failure when configuring the pressurization regulator caused the loss of consciousness of both the pilots and the passengers due to hypoxia, turning the aircraft into at that time in a "ghost flight" that was only kept flying by the operation of the autopilot. Finally, already over Greek territory, it hit a hill due to lack of fuel.
Other accidents[change | change source]
The accident was the largest in the history of Greek aviation, along with one of the most serious in August 2005, a dark month for commercial aviation, which also featured, among others, the tragedies of West Caribbean Airways Flight 708 and TANS Perú Flight 204.
References[change | change source]
- Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 737-31S 5B-DBY Grammatikos". aviation-safety.net. Aviation Safety Network. Archived from the original on April 8, 2022. Retrieved May 11, 2022.
- Ranter, Harro. "Greece air safety profile". aviation-safety.net. Aviation Safety Network. Archived from the original on 25 March 2022. Retrieved May 11, 2022.
- "Aircraft Accident Report: Helios Airways Flight HCY522 at Grammatiko, Greece on 14 August 2005" (PDF). Air Accident Investigation and Aviation Safety Board. 4 October 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 March 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2022.
- "Greek "Αεροπορική τραγωδία" Flash.GR" [Greek "Air tragedy" Flash.GR]. flash.gr (in Greek). 2005-08-15. Archived from the original on 2005-08-15. Retrieved 2019-06-15.
- "Ο κατάλογος των θυμάτων ERT" [The list of ERT victims]. ert.gr (in Greek).[permanent dead link]
Other websites[change | change source]
- "Helios Airways". Archived from the original on 13 August 2005.
- Weir, Andrew (Dec 19, 2006). "Behind Closed Doors". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077.
- Aircraft Incident Report of Helios Airways Flight HCY522 at Grammatiko, Greece on 14 August 2005 (published in English, released in November 2006) Archived 5 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
- Complete report of the official investigation by the Greek air safety investigations committee (published in Greek, released in October 2006). Archived 2007-12-01 at the Wayback Machine