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Criminal proceedings launched against army officer after soldier’s death

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File photo: members of the special forces

Criminal proceedings will be initiated against a national guard officer for the death of a 27-year-old special forces contract soldier last year, police said on Friday.

The case will explore charges including causing death by a thoughtless, reckless or dangerous act, at a military court, according to police.

Panayiotis Yiannios died in June after he jumped from a helicopter as part of a scheduled military exercise and fell into the sea in the Lara area in Akamas.

He had been hospitalised with brain swelling and spine fractures after the accident.

He was rescued by a boat according to the scenario of the exercise, but was found to be unconscious and eventually died.

An investigation was launched a day after his death, led by Brigadier-General Solomos Solomou, deputy commander of the Operations at the army HQ.

Reports suggested the young man’s fall occurred when the helicopter was hovering at 20 metres above sea level, when it should have been at eight metres.

Crew had been granted a licence to film the exercise, so there was footage of the fatal accident.

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