The last man conscious on Cypriot plane made mayday signals

Two seconds before impact, the last man conscious in the cockpit of a doomed Cypriot airliner made a desperate call for help - "Mayday, Mayday" - before the plane carrying 121 people smashed into a mountain near Athens.

Chief investigator Akrivos Tsolakis said yesterday that the man - believed to be a flight attendant with pilot training - twice issued distress calls in the final 10 minutes of Helios Airways flight 522.

"The second time was a couple of seconds before the crash," Mr Tsolakis said, adding that the man had "a very weak tone of voice".

Earlier, Mr Tsolakis issued a preliminary report on last week's crash, which killed all 115 passengers and six crew. It said the Boeing 737-300 had lost cabin pressure and eventually ran out of fuel. A man wearing an oxygen mask, believed to be 25-year-old Andreas Prodromou, tried to steer the plane for the last 10 minutes, according to Guardian.

He cried "Mayday" three times - but the plane's communications had apparently been set to the wrong frequency, Mr Tsolakis said.

Greek investigators, aided by the US National Transportation Safety Board, are investigating the tragedy, the worst ever in Greece and Cyprus and considered one of the most baffling in aviation history. The report appears to confirm initial suspicions that most people on board were incapacitated by a loss of cabin pressure early in the flight at about 34,000ft (10,360 metres). It is unclear how the would-be rescuer stayed conscious. reported earlier, that a Cypriot airliner that crashed earlier this month, killing 121 people on board, lost cabin pressure and ran out of fuel before slamming into a mountainous region near Athens, according to a preliminary report released Monday.

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