A helicopter crashed in the sea off northern Evia short after taking off from Mantoudi village in northern Evia. The pilot and allegedly one passenger were on board. Search And Rescue (SAR) operation underway.
At the time of the crash, there was a strong rainfall, haze, low cloudiness and bad visibility.
Video: by ERT TV crew: the white spot on the footage shows the moment of the crash
According to preliminary information by state broadcaster ERT, the private helicopter of type Augusta A-190 took off from a hill in Mantoudi with destination to the industrial area of Volos, further in the North.
The whole area is currently in the grip of storm ELIAS that has caused extensive flooding in both areas.
The helicopter took off at 10:13 a.m. in Afidnes and its signal was lost on the radar at 10:30. It crashed into the sea off Achladi beach, near the seaside village of Agia Anna.
Its route was Afidnes in north-eastern Attica, to Mantoudi in Evia and then to Volos industrial area.
A rescue operation with an Army Super Puma helicopter and boats of from the Coast Guard and private vessels has been immediately launched, however, the weather conditions prevailing in the area are not helpful.
Eyewitnesses told media that they saw the helicopter making a “weird maneuver” and then they heard a loud noise followed by the crash into the sea.
“The helicopter sank in 1.5 minute,” the mayor of Mantoudi told ERT TV.
Three hours after the crash, rescuers have not spotted the helicopter yet, ALPHA TV reported.
According to unconfirmed information, there was only the pilot on broad when the helicopter left Afidnes and it reportedly remains unknown whether a passenger got on board in Mantoudi. It was on a low flight.
ANT TV reported short before 2 p.m. that one passenger was registered on the heli flight plan. The pilot was a retired member of the Greek Air Force.
Three hours after the crash and their is no official information whatsoever.
The fact that the aircraft was flying in adverse weather conditions has raised questions, as expected.
An Air Chief Marshall told ERT TV that the helicopter should not fly if visibility and cloudiness are low and there is strong rainfall.