Friend of fly­dubai pi­lot says he was calm un­der pres­sure

7 Days in Dubai - - FLYDUBAI CRASH - Rory@7days.ae @ro­ryreynolds

A close friend of fly­dubai cap­tain Aris­tos Sokra­tous has de­scribed the Cypriot avi­a­tor as a “calm pro­fes­sional” who he says would not have pan­icked in a cri­sis.

An­dreas Christodolou, 43, said that all those in the pi­lot’s home town of Li­mas­sol have been dev­as­tated by Satur­day’s crash, which claimed the lives of all on­board, in­clud­ing 55 pas­sen­gers and seven crew.

He also said that friends and rel­a­tives do not be­lieve Sokra­tous could have caused the tragedy.

Rus­sian in­ves­ti­ga­tors say they are prob­ing whether ei­ther hu­man er­ror, the weather or a fault in the air­craft could have led to the ac­ci­dent.

Fly­dubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith has said it would have been the pi­lots’ de­ci­sion to land, but urged against any spec­u­la­tion as to the cause be­fore the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is com­plete.

Speak­ing by phone from Cyprus, Christodolou told 7DAYS that his fam­ily had been sad­dened by the sug­ges­tion that pi­lot er­ror could be a fac­tor.

“Ev­ery­one who knows him says he is a very calm, pro­fes­sional guy, the way he used to speak to peo­ple, the way he was at work,” Christodolou said, adding that he had known Sokra­tous since they were young men and had trav­elled Europe on their mo­tor­bikes.

“He was good at ev­ery­thing he did.

By Rory Reynolds

“I don’t be­lieve it could have been the pi­lots’ fault - no one does here.

“I’ve heard the record­ing of the pi­lots speak­ing to the tower [pub­lished by Rus­sian me­dia out­lets]. He doesn’t panic at all, nei­ther of the pi­lots do.

“He knew that it was their job to land that plane, but we don’t know what hap­pened af­ter that. Some­thing hap­pened, I don’t know what, but we just can’t think it could have been his fault.”

He con­tin­ued: “Aris­tos had flown all over the world, he worked for dif­fer­ent air­lines, he was ex­pe­ri­enced.”

Christodolou, who runs a bar in his home town, also said his friend had spo­ken of his ex­cite­ment at bring­ing his wife and young child back to Cyprus from Dubai to fly for Ir­ish car­rier Ryanair.

He said: “He had a new job and we had talked about him mov­ing back, how we were go­ing to head to the gym to­gether and get fit.”

Christodolou said his friend’s par­ents trav­elled to Dubai to sup­port his wife and child, as the in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­tin­ues.

He added: “All of our friends gath­ered to­gether last night and peo­ple are very up­set, the whole town, all of Cyprus is sad­dened.”

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