Family members of the victims who tragically lost their lives in the Helios Airways Flight 522 crash, an incident that claimed the lives of all passengers on board, including twenty-two children, gathered to honor their memory at the crash site on Mount Grammatikos in Attica. The eighteenth anniversary of the crash presents a poignant moment to consider the impact of crashes throughout Greek aviation history.
Greece has for the last twenty-five years witnessed a significant number of plane crashes and incidents involving cargo, commercial, military and passenger aviation claiming lives and considerable losses in goods and other items.
The causes of these aviation accidents have commonly been ascribed to bad weather conditions, the mountainous landscape of the Hellenic Republic, and general technical issues among other things.
Plane crashes in Greece
On December 17, 1997, Aerosvit Airlines – Yakovlev Yak-42 crashed into the Pierian mountains in Central Macedonia claiming the lives of seventy people on board. The exact spot of the crash was discovered three days later. The cause of the crash was linked to bad weather conditions and the mountainous landscape.
On December 20, 1997, Lockheed Hercules C-130 of the Hellenic Airforce crashed into Pastra Mountain near Tanagra. The crash was due to bad weather conditions. Five people were killed. The military aircraft was due to transfer soldiers from Tanagra to Pieria in order to take part in the operations for the discovery of the Ukrainian plane which had crashed only three days earlier.
On September 11, 2004, the helicopter carrying Patriarch Petro VII of Alexandria along with sixteen others, including journalists and three other bishops of the Church of Alexandria crashed into the Aegean Sea while en route to the monastic community of Mount Athos. All members in the helicopter died. The cause of the crash remains unknown, but it is argued that an explosion occurred before the crash.
On June 15, 2004 a Hellenic Air Force F-4 Phantom fighter Jet crashed on Mount Parnassus. Both pilots lost their lives. Investigations revealed that the aircraft crashed due to an extreme maneuver it made as part of an exercise.
On August 14, 2005, after fears that it could crash in Athens’ center, Helios Airways Flight 522 crashed in Grammatiko village in East Attica killing all 121 people on board. At present, this stands to be the deadliest plane crash in Greek history.
On May 23, 2006, a Greek and a Turkish F-16 collided into each other in mid-air off the island of Karpathos and crashed into the Aegean. The Greek pilot died instantly.
On August 26, 2010, Two Hellenic Air Force F-16s collided in mid-air during a training exercise south of Crete near Chrysi.
Furthermore, a Hellenic Navy Bell 212 helicopter crashed during a training exercise on the island of Kinaros near Amorgos on February 11, 2016.
On Saturday, July 16, 2022, involving a Ukrainian company-owned cargo plane Antonov An-12 with eight people on board. It crashed near the city of Kavala in northern Greece.
The most recent aviation accident occurred on July 25, 2023, when a firefighter plane crashed in southern Greece. Flight Lt. Christos Moulas, 34, and Second Lt. Periklis Stefanidis, 27, were killed during responding to wildfires in the area.