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Dead found at air crash site near Athens

August 14, 2005 19:48 IST

Firefighters searching for survivors amid the burning wreckage of a Cyprus Helios Airways jet that crashed near Athens on Sunday found 'the first dead but still no survivors', a fire department spokesman said.

The plane crashed in uninhabited woodland about 40 km after what an army spokesman said could have been a hijacking.

Iannis Papayorgiou, mayor of the town of Grammatikos, near where the plane crashed and burned, said firefighters 'have put out the blaze and are looking for survivors'.

Greek television broadcast footage of the smouldering wreckage of the plane, with its tailfin sticking out of the earth. A dozen ambulances were on the spot, filmed at a distance from the disaster area, which was cordoned off.

The fire, which had been extinguished by Canadair water-dropping planes, was still smoking.

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis was expected to visit the scene in the early afternoon, breaking off his holidays on the island of Tinos in the Greek Cyclades islands.