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Air traffic controller’s killer returns to Moscow

Published on 05/12/2007

The Russian who killed a Swiss air traffic controller he blamed for the death of his wife and children in an air crash arrived in Moscow Tuesday after a Swiss court agreed parole last week.

The 51-year old arrived to a hero’s welcome, according to the Swiss wire agency ATS.

He had been in prison since 2005 after stabbing to death a Skyguide worker outside his home in Kloten, Zurich in February 2004.

The controller had been the single member of staff at his post the night a passenger plane and cargo jet collided over Ueberlingen in southern Germany in July 2002, killing all 71 people on board.

The Russian’s wife and two children had been on board the Russian aircraft. An air accident investigation had blamed Skyguide for serious shortcomings.

In September four Skyguide employees and contractors were handed sentences after a court found them guilty of manslaughter through negligence in connection with the air disaster.

Skyguide was criticized for leaving one officer on duty at a time when maintenance work left him ill-equipped to deal with the events that followed. Three managers were given 12 month suspended prison sentences and a contractor a suspended fine.

DPA 2007