The pilots of the Greek F-16 fighter jets will never forget what they saw when they intercepted a passenger flight at 34,000 feet and peered into the cockpit of the Boeing 737.

Flight ZU522 flying from Cyprus to Athens with 121 people on board, reported air conditioning problems 30 minutes after takeoff. Within minutes the Boeing 737 lost all radio contact over the Aegean Sea heading towards Greece. Two Greek F-16 fighter jets were immediately dispatched to assist and escort the plane.

When the F-16s intercepted the plane at 34,000 feet, jet pilots could see the co-pilot slumped over his seat. The  captain was not in the cockpit, and oxygen masks dangled inside the cabin. It was a lifeless cockpit.

Apparently the aircraft experienced a technical failure with its oxygen system resulting in high-altitude decompression. When this occurs at an altitude of 34,000 feet, the effects of depressurization are fairly
immediate and deadly.

For 43 helpless minutes, the two F-16’s traveled with the passenger plane as it made its descent by auto-pilot.
At precisely 12:03PM the doomed flight slammed into a wooded gorge outside of Athens.

There were no survivors. Bodies were found with oxygen masks still on. Two of the dead in the wreckage still had
their arms wrapped around each other. Investigators said some of the bodies were frozen solid.

A Helios Boeing 737 has crashed into a mountain in Greece killing all on board. F-16 jets were sent to escort the plane into the airport when it went down with all 115 passengers and 6 crew. Authorities have not yet ruled out terrorism, CNN have reported. However it is likely the pane crashed because of a technical error. Reuters report a text message was sent from a passenger’s phone to his cousin saying, “the pilots have turned blue”. The Cypriot plane was on route to Athens from Larnaca.
[11:20 GMT 14/08/2005]

The F-16 fighter pilots saw the grave situation but were absolutely powerless to save the 121 passengers on
board. All they were able to do was watch it happen.

There is spiritual lesson from this tragic story. The human race experienced a catastrophic failure due to human error right after take-off. You can read about Adam and Eve’s colossal error/sin in Genesis 3 of the Bible. That one rebellious act plunged the entire human family into darkness resulting in profound problems – not the least of which was alienation from God. That one sin (Romans 5:12) infected the human race. Sin spread like wild fire and permeated the entire human family, so much so that the Bible concludes: “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

God saw the helplessness of our condition. Without a major rescue intervention, we would all perish eternally in our sins. But God did more than watch. He looked into the cockpit of the human family and saw our hopeless condition. He loved us despite our sin and did something about it.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. 1 John 4:14.

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.  1 Timothy 1:15.

The F-16 pilots flew with the doomed passenger jet for 43 minutes but could do nothing to prevent the tragic end. Ultimately, they had to fly away and let it happen. The spiritual parallel is a sweet contrast. “For when we were yet without strength, in due time, Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:6. I was a powerless sinner on a doomed flight to a lost eternity in Hell, but Christ died for me the ungodly one and today HE is my Saviour.

Are you resisting the only possible salvation available to you? God is willing and able to save you today.

Sources:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/15/international/europe/15greece.html?th&emc=th

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2005-08-14-greece-crash_x.htm