The armed forces declared three days of national mourning – Among the victims were 2 nurses, a non-commissioned officer and two interpreters, whose bodies were repatriated by C 27
The horrible death of 5 members of the Greek humanitarian mission at Libya. All 5 were on a bus which collided head-on with a passing car and immediately burst into flames. Among the victims were 2 nurses, a non-commissioned officer and two interpreters, whose bodies were repatriated with C 27. The remaining members of the mission were transported and are being treated in military hospitals in the country.
Mass political and state leadership expressed their grief over the horrific accident, while the armed forces declared three days of national mourning. The opposition demands immediate information, leaving parallel spikes with the government clarifying that the causes will be investigated and answers will be given.
The circumstances of the fatal accident
According to information regarding the circumstances of the fatal accident, the specific road on which the bus with the members of the Greek humanitarian mission was located was chosen because the main road had been destroyed by the floods. In front and behind him were military vehicles from the Libyan forces. The passing car that was in the opposite direction swerved and collided head-on with the bus. The car – according to the information – had an additional tank with 200 liters of fuel, gasoline, which ignited due to the severity of the collision, causing the two vehicles to burst into flames.
An amorphous mass of iron, smoke and fire. This is what was left of the Greek mission bus that carried humanitarian aid to Libya. The video shows the last photos of the Greek mission before the accident.
Special Forces personnel, including the non-commissioned officer who lost his life, hold the Greek flag in front of the C-130.
On the right are the two nurses who were pulled dead from the fatal bus. A Pilot who worked at the Naval Hospital and a Squadron Leader of the General Aviation Hospital.
The news of the death of the Greeks was first broadcast by the Libyan Minister of Health.
“I want to express, in the name of Mr. Prime Minister and in the name of the Libyan government and the Libyan people, my sincere condolences to our brothers and sisters in Greece. There was a team that came to help Libya in rescue operations in the city of Derna, and they arrived today in the city of Benghazi, and on the way to the city of Derna, they met with a really horrible car accident,” said Libyan Health Minister Othman Abdel Jalil.
Local media broadcast images of injured Greeks in Libyan hospitals while major news agencies interrupted their programs to report the dead and injured from the crash.
With extensive reports they capture the extent of the destruction in Libya flattened by the floods, they broadcast with emergency bulletins the news that members of the Greek humanitarian mission were killed in a traffic accident.
By decision of the Minister of National Defense, three days of mourning were declared for the Armed Forces.
“I express my deepest sorrow for the death of the three members of the Armed Forces, who lost their lives in the line of duty, participating in the Greek humanitarian aid mission in Libya. The loss of their lives in an accident, during the practical demonstration of solidarity to our fellow citizens who are being tested, together with members of missions from other states, causes immense sadness to the large family of the Armed Forces”, said the Minister of National Defense
The bodies of the five members of the Greek mission were repatriated on Monday morning in an Air Force C-27.
A short time earlier, an ambulance convoy transported to the military hospitals the wounded who arrived by C-130 at the airbase of Elefsina.
The third interpreter remained for treatment in Libya, while the wounded were visited earlier by the Chief of the General Hospital.
The families of the victims are in a state of shock – They speak to SKAI
The families of the victims are in a state of shock. They cannot believe the ugly game that fate has played on them. SKAI managed to talk to some of them.
Among the victims are 2 brothers, interpreters children of the president of the Greek community of Benghazi who went to help voluntarily. Shocked by the unimaginable loss, their father speaks to SKAI.
– They are my two children, says Kanakis Mandalios to SKAI
Reporter: Is that your daughter and your son?
– Yes. They are 34 and 33. The piles have arrived in Athens. I am here in Athens.
Journalist: How did you find out? Did you find out from yesterday? Today;
– I found out since yesterday, in the evening.
Journalist: They had gone there voluntarily I guess?
Philippos and Angela were the 2 brothers who tried to help the rest of the Greek mission in the difficult and dangerous paths of Libya. One of the tragic aspects of the painful event is that last Saturday, Angela was married. And just eight days later she died.
Reporter: Is Angela married recently?
– He was married yes, a week, ten days ago.
Journalist: How are you?
-We haven’t realized it yet. How do you want us to be?
Journalist: How did they go on this mission? Did they really want it? Was it something they did often?
-They have grown up in Benghazi, they have taken part in other missions, they work in Benghazi. They come and go, that is, they are familiar and wanted to help.
Mr. Sayanos, their family friend and president of the European school, bends while speaking to SKAI.
“I see what I see and I am stunned. In the morning at 10 o’clock the C-130 arrived with the Consul General, Stavros Venizelos, the 3 translators, 2 of which are children of the president of the community. There are no words to support my friend Kanakis, there are no words,” said the President of the European School of Benghazi George Sagianos.
Among the dead was Squadron Leader Evi Andreadaki, who was a nurse at the 251 General Aviation Hospital. The news of the death of Evie Andreadaki has caused a shock in Heraklion, her place of origin. Her uncle, still shocked, speaks to SKAI.
“Eva was a nice girl, she was engaged 6 months ago to an IT guy, Giannis, and they had gone to Paris for a walk. In the aviation general hospital there he served. In the cardiology department. She had done several postgraduate degrees,” her uncle said.
Her story is tragic. Her brother had also been killed in a car accident, while her family had also lost her uncle, an Air Force pilot, in the line of duty.
“Fate hit us very mercilessly. If we start from 1980, the pilot was lost at the age of 24. She was young but she had outlived both the pilot and her brother who were very close to her brother. Vassilis, also 23 years old (in) a traffic accident, he also died. Today we learned about Eva who had gone on the mission.”
In a Facebook post, the late nurse explained why she chose to join the Air Force:
“When asked why I chose the Air Force, I always answer that I was destined to serve it before I was even born… A great man, like my late uncle, nurtures you with high ideals not only with his virtuous life, but above all with his death” that chooses…”
Among the victims was a 27-year-old non-commissioned officer.
“He was in the paratrooper section. He has been in the army for eight years. Yesterday at noon, 1 o’clock, he sent me a message because they don’t have phones: “Dad, we arrived, we’re fine.” From then on, communication is over,” the 27-year-old’s father told Mega.
Among the 5 dead, according to information, was Admiral Glykeria Memekidou, who worked as a nurse at the Oncology Clinic of the Athens Naval Hospital.
Why did GEETHA initially announce only injured people?
Clarifications regarding the initial announcement, which referred to injuries only and not to deaths of members of the Greek humanitarian mission in Libya, were provided by the GRETHA.
In detail, GEETHA clarifies: “The initial information was based on the information provided by the Libyan authorities to the competent authorities of Greeces, in which it was categorically stated that there were no victims among the members of the Greek humanitarian aid mission.
It is understandable that in the special conditions that prevailed on the field there was no other way of cross-referencing the relevant information, other than the information from the Libyan authorities through the diplomatic route, given that there was no mobile phone network in the area and the satellite phones that the Greek mission had with it were destroyed in the fire that followed the collision of the vehicles.
Later, the Libyan authoritiesthrough the Ministry of Health, without prior notification of the Greek side, they proceeded with an announcement in which members of the Greek mission were included among the victims.
Considering the extremely sensitive issue of informing the victims’ families, the GEETHA should have also waited after the latest update from Libya and before issuing a corrective announcement, for their relatives to be notified beforehand by the military authorities and not be informed of the sad news by the media. As soon as the relevant information was completed, the new announcement was issued.”
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