Key to Cypriot plane crash may be in final 23 minutes

Investigators believe the key to discovering what caused a Cypriot plane to crash in Greece, killing all 121 people on board, may be found in the flight's final 23 minutes.

On Wednesday, four days after the Sunday tragedy, there were as many questions as answers about why Helios Airways Boeing 737 flight from Larnaca to Prague, with a stop in Athens, crashed into mountains near Athens. Autopsy findings so far have indicated that all 115 passengers and six crew were either dead or unconscious before the crash from a drop in cabin pressure and lack of oxygen.

"All the (26 autopsied) individuals, including the co-pilot and two stewardesses, died from multiple injuries to the body. They were alive when the plane crashed," coroners announced on Tuesday saying they expected the same findings on other victims. Some involved in the probe are looking for clues as to what went wrong at 34,000 feet by examining the 23 minutes before the plane went down, reports Reuters.

According to Herald Tribune, investigators, who did not want to be quoted by name, said that the F-16 pilots had taken extensive photographs or footage of the plane while still in flight, evidence that is expected to be a major benefit to the investigation when it is turned over to investigators Thursday.

Teams have arrived from elsewhere Europe and the United States to relieve Greek investigators, who have received little or no training for their task. Most of the laboratory work, including the readout of the flight-data recorder, will be done in Paris by the French air investigation agency, one of the most experienced in the world.

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