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No Sign Gas Fumes Had Any Role in Jet Crash

From Reuters

Tests on several victims of a Cypriot airliner crash showed no sign of carbon monoxide poisoning, which appeared to rule out the possibility that the 121 people aboard were overcome by the gas because of a fire or faulty air conditioning, a Greek official said.

Investigators are trying to discover why the pilot, copilot and many passengers apparently fell unconscious before the Helios Airways Boeing 737 crashed into a mountainside.

At the crash site, crews found the cockpit voice recorder after six days of searching, but it had not yet been examined.

“We are still doing tests for other gases, poisons, drugs and alcohol,” said Fillipos Koutsaftis, Greece’s chief coroner.

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Of six victims examined, five, including the copilot, showed no signs of having inhaled carbon monoxide, while a stewardess had a minimum level of 7%, which was not considered dangerous, Koutsaftis said.

“The 7% is deemed to be minimal,” he said, comparing it to someone who had smoked two or three cigarettes.

British aviation medicine expert Ian Perry said that more tests were needed but that the first signs might point to a failure of the oxygen supply because of depressurization.

“The fact that there is no evidence of carbon monoxide poisoning and evidence that the bodies were frozen suggests strongly that they died from anoxia, the lack of oxygen,” he said in London.

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