Remains of 1974 plane crash in Cypriot recovered

Nicosia, Sep 18 (IANS) Cypriot authorities said on Friday that the remains of several victims of a plane crash 41 years ago have been recovered from the crash site.

The crashed plane was a French-built Nord Noratlas transporter of the Greek Air Force shot down by friendly fire in the dark hours of July 22, 1974, as it was flying in reinforcements for the Cypriot National Guard which was facing a large Turkish force trying to capture Nicosia airport.

Turkey occupied the northern part of Cyprus in the fighting, in response to a coup by Greek junta army officers.

Presidential Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs Fotis Fotiou said a large number of human bones has been found, but could not say to how many people they belonged, reports Xinhua.

The Noratlas flight was part of a plan to transport a battalion of commandos from Crete to Cyprus. Only one of the 32 people aboard the plane survived the crash, which happened a short distance from the airport runaway.

Twelve bodies were recovered at the time, but the remaining 19 were covered over with earth because of the proximity to the fighting. The place was later turned into a military cemetery for thousands of Greek Cypriots killed in the fighting and a monument for the fallen was erected over the crash site.

“The difficult task of scientific identification of the bones will get under way within the next few days. We hope we will be able to put an end to the uncertainty of the relatives of the dead people,” Fotiou said.

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