Court rules Germany liable for plane crash
27 July 2006, CONSTANCE, GERMANY - Germany will have to pay damages for a mid-air collision over the south of the country that claimed 71 lives four years ago, a court ruled Thursday.
27 July 2006
CONSTANCE, GERMANY - Germany will have to pay damages for a mid-air collision over the south of the country that claimed 71 lives four years ago, a court ruled Thursday.
Bashkirian Airlines, owner of one of the planes, had sued the German government for 2.6 million euros ($3.4 million), the value of its Tupolev 154 airliner, which was carrying 57 passengers and 12 crew.
Nobody survived the July 1, 2002 collision in German airspace with a Boeing 757 DHL cargo plane, which had a crew of two.
The court found that Germany was liable even though the collision was blamed on an inattentive air traffic controller working for the Swiss company Skyguide, which had responsibility for the sector where the accident occurred.
The Russian airline maintained that Germany allowed the Swiss to manage the airspace close to the Swiss border, but did not formally transfer its legal liability to the Swiss.
A German aviation-accidents inquiry blamed Skyguide for putting the two planes on collision course and giving them the wrong collision-avoidance orders. A relative of a Bashkirian passenger stabbed to death the Skyguide controller in 2004.
German and Swiss prosecutors are also preparing criminal charges against up to seven surviving Skyguide personnel.
DHL also plans to sue Germany for 36 million euros for the loss of its jet, while a Skyguide's Swiss insurer, Winterthur, is suing Bashkirian Airlines. The families of at least 30 dead are also mounting suits. The planes crashed near Ueberlingen, a German town.
Subject: German news