Expatica news

German court rejects airline blame in 2002 crash

19 September 2008

KONSTANZ — A German court rejected Thursday a claim that a pilot from the Russian Federation was partly to blame for a July 2002 air disaster that killed all 71 occupants of two planes.

The Bashkirian Airlines plane from Moscow, Russia to Barcelona, collided with DHL FLight 611 near Ueberlingen on the northern shore of Lake Constance, which borders Switzerland and Austria.

Inquiries have already laid the blame on Skyguide, the Swiss air- traffic control system, which put two jets on a course leading to their mid-air collision.

Skyguide’s insurance company, AXA, contended the Bashkirian Airlines jet from Bashkortostan, a republic within Russia, should have taken evasive action so as not to hit a DHL air cargo jet.

But the court at Konstanz said: "Any error by the Russian pilot was completely insignificant and does not form a basis for shared liability."

The crash has led to years of litigation.

A German court has still to hear an appeal against a ruling that the government of Germany was ultimately liable, because it had let Skyguide take charge of the airspace.

[dpa / Expatica]