Former Crossair managers go on trial over crash that killed 24
5 May 2008
BELLINZONA – Six former managers of Swiss airline Crossair went on trial Monday over the deaths of U.S. singer Melanie Thornton and 23 others in a plane crash six years ago.
The defendants in the Federal Criminal Court trial are accused of negligent homicide in the 24 Nov 2001 crash. The charges brought by the Swiss federal prosecutor also include grievous bodily harm resulting from negligence.
An investigation concluded that mistakes by the exhausted flight captain were the main reason for the crash.
Three prominent Israelis were among those killed – Yaakov Matzner, 54, dean of the Hebrew University school of medicine; another leading doctor, Amiram Eldor, 59; and Avishai Berkman, 50, a Tel Aviv city official.
A pop-music trio called Passion Fruit – two Dutch women and a German woman of Spanish origin – was also on the plane. Maria Serrano-Serrano and Nathaly van het Ende, both 27, were killed, but Debby St. Marteen was among the nine people who survived when the flight from Berlin crashed into woodland on approach to Zurich Airport.
The accused are Crossair founder Moritz Suter, former Crossair boss Andre Dose, and four other senior managers of the regional airline.
Suter, who was Crossair chairman at the time of the crash, and Dose are accused of having severely breached security rules and correct management procedures.
Suter and Dose can face up to three years imprisonment if convicted, according to Swiss law.
A verdict is expected later this month.
The singer Thornton was flying to Zurich for radio and television appearances to promote a new recording.
[AP / ANP / Expatica]