The government has confirmed that the two Noratlas transport planes of the Greek Airforce, which were shot down by anti-aircraft fire during the 1974 invasion, will remain buried at their current spots within the Green Line.
The location of the aircraft was identified following testimony was given by a former employee at the Nicosia International airport. The planes were buried during the brief ceasefire during the invasion. It is also believed that the bodies of declared MIA’s are also buried in the area.
The Greek government was notified of these developments. Despite Nicosia’s offer to excavate the site and to remove the two planes, the Greek government – for political reasons – decide against the excavations to take place. The excavations, however, may take place at a later date.
In a separate development, the excavated bodies of the Greek commandos that were retrieved from the downed planes and buried in a mass grave in the military cemetery in Makedonitissa have been identified following DNA tests. Their remains will be flown to Greece in September.
The two Noratlas transport planes were part of a squadron transporting Greek commandos to Cyprus during the Turkish invasion on 22 July 1974. Two of the planes were shot down by friendly anti-aircraft fire amidst the confusion prevailing at the time.