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16 June, 2024
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Decoding the tragic legacy from 'Helios' airplane crash to bus blazes

Unraveling the secrets behind unexplained crashes



By Panayiotis Kaparis

Miraculously, there is no other explanation for the situation with the "crazy" school buses. They catch fire, burn up in the good seats, break down on long downhill grades, and, it is whispered, have a whole host of other problems.

AKEL MP Costas Kostas Kostas, though a communist, also invoked God in the Transport Committee of the Parliament, describing twelve 'scary' incidents with buses that either caught fire, even with the controversial automatic fire extinguishing system, or lost their brakes on the downhill of Lefkara, or the wheels came off while traveling.

All this occurred before Transport Minister Alexis Vafeadi, a group of senior technocrats, and a team of police officers. More worryingly, they listened to the complaints without getting angry.

The 1981 tragedy in Moniatis, where a school bus, having lost its brakes coming down from Troodos, crashed into a tank, killing three schoolgirls, losing the driver's arm, and injuring 49 people, hovered over the session. After that, a protective wall was built on the famous "boom of death."

Fatefully, the mind goes to the distant 2005 and the tragic accident or crime for many, with the "SUN plane" in which 121 people, including many children, died.

At least one more unborn child was also lost, who is usually not named. And for those who remember, before the fateful trip, the private airline, with its big-name shareholders, high-priced consultants, and famous directors, was presented as the "anphan gatekeeper" of Cypriot entrepreneurship.

And once the big bad happened, who saw all these people, who went from "supermen" to "little people." And what was not said then, with the faulty plane, the inept pilot, and the inhumane working conditions.

But everything was soon forgotten, except for the "curses" of relatives, which are still repeated at memorial services. The protagonists of the tragedy may have been spared from human justice, but surely there are also mermaids and divine justice.

Just three years later, on a dark night in 2008, the roof of the newly built Municipal Theatre in Nicosia fell down. A few days earlier, leaders of the European Union, the Cypriot political leadership, and hundreds of 'named' and 'unnamed' citizens were sitting in the comfortable chairs of the theatre.

A few hours earlier, hundreds of children were entertained in the theatre. God spared us, was the common admission of all, believers and unbelievers alike.

The investigations began, the angry statements started, the endless debates began, inside and outside the parliament. The result was that no one was punished, no one took responsibility, those responsible were 'feeding the tongue,' and the taxpaying citizen had to pay the bill again and again.

In the long black list of tragedies, there is also the crash of the helicopter of the National Guard, with the leader of the force Evangelos Florakis and a group of officers. Since then until today, no one has come out officially to announce the cause of the tragedy, while suspicions of a malfunctioning helicopter, faulty maintenance, and even airborne craziness come and go.

In 2006 a Russian attack helicopter crashed in Paphos, one with a Greek Cypriot officer and a Russian instructor. At the time it was said that the cause was the heatwave, which was unsuitable for Russian helicopters, but that was it. A few days ago Police Chief Stelios Papatheodorou told the House Transport Committee that "half" of the Police Headquarters is vacant. The space where the GEF used to be is not being used because there are structural problems.

Well, because the Force Headquarters and a bunch of other key agencies remain in the other half. I wonder if they aren't afraid every time they enter the space that the building will fall over their heads? The Ministry of Labour has been told for years that it is dangerous. Fortunately, they got ahead of themselves and moved to luxury offices in the centre of Nicosia.

The famous Parthenagio, outside the Church of Faneromeni in Nicosia, when children - the majority of them foreigners - attended, was good and holy. But in order for the teachers and students of the Faculty of Architecture to enter the place, multi-million euro works had to be done to prevent it from falling on their heads. They seem to know more than that.

Dangerous, polluted, and problematic buildings in the public service are unfortunately too many and kill daily and cause cancers and other diseases in many workers. The question is whether the Presidential Palace is on this "black list" and whether its structural integrity has ever been checked since 1974. Fortunately, God still "takes pity" on us.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

Cyprus  |  transport  |  Nicosia  |  bus  |  fire

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