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  Monday, October 26, 2020
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Air traffic controllers blamed for the crash of a Russian passenger plane over Germany five years ago went on trial in a Swiss court Tuesday
Air traffic controllers blamed for the crash of a Russian passenger plane over Germany five years ago went on trial in a Swiss court Tuesday. Eight controllers of the private Swiss airspace control company Skyguide are being tried for negligence, which may have led to the Tupolev 154 airliner's midair collision with a Boeing 757 cargo jet over Lake Constance, near the German border with Switzerland, in July 2002. All 69 people on board the plane flying from the Urals, including 45 children, were killed in the crash. Three of the defendants appeared before a Buelach district court, in the canton of Zurich, on day one of the hearings, which are to continue through May 31. The final verdict is expected in July. If convicted, the controllers will face suspended prison sentences of 6 to 15 months. The collision occurred at 11:35 p.m. local time (9:35 p.m. GMT) on July 1, 2002, when the only officer on duty, Swiss national Peter Nielsen, was having to control as many as 15 flights, working with two radars simultaneously. Nielsen was stabbed to death in February 2004 by a Russian national, who lost his wife and both of his children in the accident. In 2005, Vitaly Kaloyev was sentenced to eight years in a high-security prison after a Swiss court found him guilty of murder. Skyline chief Marti Luthi, the first defendant to testify at Tuesday's court hearing, admitted that the practice of leaving one controller on duty for night shifts had been introduced as a cost-saving measure. But he dismissed suggestions that excessive duties may have prevented Nielsen from alerting the crews to the potential danger early enough for them to avoid collision, saying it does not take a superman to service two workstations instead of one.
Print Air traffic controllers blamed for the crash of a Russian passenger plane over Germany five years ago went on trial in a Swiss court Tuesday Bookmark Air traffic controllers blamed for the crash of a Russian passenger plane over Germany five years ago went on trial in a Swiss court Tuesday

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