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Swiss Court Convicts Four Air Traffic Control


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Swiss Court Convicts Four Air Traffic Control Managers (DW-World)

A Swiss court convicted four air traffic control executives on Tuesday of negligent manslaughter in a 2002 mid-air collision over Überlingen, Germany that killed 71 people, most of whom were Russian children.

"The accused are guilty of multiple cases of manslaughter," said presiding judge Rainer Hohler at the Bülach district court near Zurich.

Three of those found guilty were managers of the air traffic control company Skyguide, and were handed one-year suspended jail sentences for negligent manslaughter.

The fourth person, who was in charge of maintenance work on traffic control equipment at the time of the crash, was fined 13,500 Swiss francs (8,200 euros; $11,200) and sentenced to 90 days in jail. All four will have to pay court cost of 25,000 francs.

Insufficient protection in place

The interior of Skyguide's Zurich control centerBildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Only one air traffic controller was on duty when the 2002 collision occurred

The judge said the Skyguide managers had failed to exercise sufficient care by leaving just one air traffic controller in charge of the southern German and eastern Swiss airspace at the time.

A second air traffic controller was taking an authorized break when the collision occurred.

"Staffing the entire ACC (Zurich air control) at night with only one controller goes completely against air traffic security principles," the judge said, according to a Reuters news report.

Due to repair work, some plane radar systems were also out of action at the time of the collision.

Four other Skyguide employees who were on trial for contributing to circumstances that led to the crash were acquitted

Full story, Source DW-world

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