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Greece probes Samos crash that killed witness in Netanyahu trial

Authorities in Greece Tuesday opened an investigation into the crash of a private Cessna aircraft from Israel that killed a prosecution witness in the corruption trial of former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The plane crashed in the sea off the island of Samos on Monday evening, as it was attempting to land at the airport.

Haim Geron, a former senior official at Israel’s ministry of communications, and his wife Esther were killed in the crash late Monday off the island of Samos.

According to associatedpress, the Israeli Foreign Ministry identified the victims, both aged 69, adding that consular officials and the ministry were working with the family to return the bodies. Geron was one of more than 300 witnesses that prosecutors listed for Netanyahu’s trial on corruption charges. He is on trial for allegedly accepting expensive gifts from wealthy associates, allegations he denies.

Greece’s Air Accident Investigation and Aviation Board is investigating the causes of the crash, officials said Tuesday.

The single-engine Cessna 182 took off from Haifa, Israel, and crashed near Samos Airport.

“Shortly before landing, communication with the control tower on Samos was lost and the Civil Aviation Authority informed the search and rescue center about the loss of communication,” the authority said in a statement.

Eyewitnesses spoke of an explosion short before the aircraft crashed into the sea, right next to Samos airport.

Greek ANT1 TV reported that the final destination of the Cessna was Macedonia and it was supposed to stop on Samos for refueling.

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