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Family of dead commando donate his organs

Army1
file photo

The family of the 27-year-old special forces soldier who died on Wednesday has asked for his organs to be donated to those in need, the health ministry announced on Friday.

Contract soldier Panayiotis Yiannios sustained critical injuries while carrying out a military exercise on Monday, near Lara beach in Paphos.

“[He] will grant life to his fellow human beings,” the health ministry said, detailing that it will now evaluate which organs may be donated to patients in Cyprus and Greece. The ministry referred specifically to the heart and kidneys.

Yiannios was critically injured during the training exercise, where he sustained severe head injuries and fractured parts of his spine; later being transferred to ICU in Nicosia general hospital.

The exercise was reportedly being filmed as he jumped from a helicopter and into the sea – a procedure which was described as routine, and one which the soldier had carried out before.

Defence ministry spokesman Christos Pieri told local media that the jump normally occurs at a height of about eight metres but reports soon emerged that the height may have been double.

Pieri described the soldier as one of the most experienced and qualified, having served as a contract member of the army for six years – “It was not his first time, he had carried out such training and exercises before”.

The incident has raised many questions which the public hopes will be answered following a national guard investigation into the soldier’s death.

Defence Minister Charalambos Petrides has been asked whether he will resign from his post with the latest death marking three in the national guard in little over a year, to which he replied negatively, adding that: “In my life, I have learned to be clear and deal with any situation responsibly. I have not tendered my resignation, but as always, I serve at the pleasure of the president.”

Elsewhere, commander Xanthos Kyriakou died during a military exercise in Trooditissa in May last year. More recently, this May, a female contract solder died following a road accident while she was on duty in Nicosia.

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