Kuwait City – Following her multi-day state visit to the Republic of Nihon. The Olympic SP150 carrying the Empress and her delegation as well as members of the press has crashed in the Republic of Babylon or near Babylon in the Persian Gulf. Air Traffic Control was unable to contact the crew after the plane diverted from its course and began losing altitude. The Hellenic Navy and Hellenic Air Force have commenced search and rescue operations in the suspected crash area.
Empress Athanasia was outside of the country for several days after being invited by the Republic of Nihon. During her state visit the Empress has increased relations with the Asian country and the visit had generally been considered a success. On the trip home, while the Olympic SP150 is capable of speeds up to mach 10, a temporary memorandum by the Hellenic Aerospace Authority had restricted all atmospheric flights of both the SP150 and the faster SP100 to mach 3. According to a spokesperson for the Hellenic Air Force, the plane while in flight over the Persian Gulf began diverting from its planned course and lost altitude rapidly. Upon detecting the strange activity on RADAR the Kuwait Air Traffic Control raised Hellenic Air One on both regular satellite communications and the emergency radio frequency but failed to gain a response on either frequency. Likewise two F-69Cs deployed from the HNS Alexander the Great failed to establish contact with the plane. While there was no response, Hellenic Air One continued exchanging data with the larger network making an issue with the communication systems highly unlikely.
The Hellenic Air Force emphasized that while at this point no cause could be ruled out, the Olympic SP150 had never behaved like this before and that combined with the communications issue pilot error is at the top of suspects. Olympic Ship Yards, the company that has designed and produces the SP150 has publicly stated that they will provide full cooperation with the Hellenic Air Safety Board, the Hellenic Aerospace Authority, the Hellenic Air Force, and other Athenian agency wishing to investigate the crash.
While identifying the cause of the crash is undoubtedly important, the biggest priority is finding the crash site and providing aid to any injured. The Hellenic Navy, in charge of the search and rescue mission, has emphasized they have found no evidence indicating that there are no survivors and will continue operating that the mission is one of rescue rather than recovery.
Per the constitution, until the Empress has been found, Chief Magistrate Alexia Antonis will assume her responsibilities as Chief Executive of the Athenian Federation and Commander-in-Chief of the Hellenic Forces. According to inside sources the Imperial Guard have placed the Empress’ sister Princess Elena Amalia under their protection at a secure location. Should the Empress not be found, or found not alive the Princess is next in line to be both the Queen of Macedon and the Empress of the Athenian Federation. Protocol is to secure the heir under these circumstances in case a third party is responsible to secure the line of succession.
The Chief Magistrate has initiated Special Contingency Act 39A. Under this emergency act a state of emergency is declared throughout the Athenian Federation, all financial markets are frozen immediately and all regional police and security forces are placed under Imperial control. The Hellenic Army will be ordered to deploy personnel to secure all vital locations. All members of the Council of Magistrates and Parliament have been called back to Athens to be ready for a possible joint session. These measures have been agreed on pre-emptively to protect the Athenian economy and the Athenian Federation at large in case of injury or death of the reigning monarch. While the Chief Magistrate has activated this measure, she has insisted that there is no reason to doubt search and rescue efforts will succeed.
The Hellenic Navy and Hellenic Air Force have joined forces along with Babylonian security forces and Hellenic Army soldiers to search the area of the Persian Gulf and Republic of Babylon where Hellenic Air One may have crashed.
At the Imperial Palace thousands of Athenians have gathered to place flowers and pray at the Palace fence.