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Greek minister killed in Falcon 900 flight incident

Greece's deputy foreign minister and five others were killed when the Greek Government-owned Dassault Falcon 900B presidential jet suffered an unexplained flight incident on descent into Bucharest, Romania on 14 September.

The Falcon 900 (SX-ECH) descended rapidly from 15,000ft (4,600m) to 2,000ft, where the crew recovered control.

Although turbulence was blamed at first, local reports and the world meteorological centre at Bracknell, UK, confirm that there was no storm activity or extensive cumulonimbus cloud in that area, nor jetstream activity at that level.

The aircraft is operated by Olympic Airways for the Greek government. There were 13 people on board, and as well as the five fatalities, three passengers suffered severe injury. A journalist who was strapped into his seat reports that the aircraft was "moving like a boat in a rough sea", and that passengers had been thrown violently at the cabin ceiling.

Most of the passengers were not strapped in and the minister was standing when the incident occurred. A pilot who examined the aircraft on the ground after its arrival at Bucharest says that it did not appear to have suffered external structural damage.