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Airlines accept German crash payout

28 November 2003

STUTTGART – Russian families of 12 aircrew killed in a midair collision over southern Germany last year have accepted a compensation package from the Swiss air traffic control agency, according to a German newspaper report published Friday.

Each received between USD100,000 and USD300,000, depending on income and the number of dependents, the Stuttgarter Nachrichten report said. The newspaper released the story Thursday evening.

The 1 July 2002 collision between a Bashkirian Airlines Tupolev airliner and a DHL cargo Boeing killed 71 people.

Attorneys for the claimants and Skyguide of Switzerland signed the agreement Thursday in Zurich, the paper said. A Swiss air traffic controller was accused of letting the two planes fly into one another. The families renounce all further claims in exchange.

The paper quoted Berlin lawyer Heiko van Schyndel, representing the families, as saying the talks were difficult and came near to being broken off at times. No agreement has been reached yet on damages for families of the passengers.

Earlier, Germany and Switzerland set up a separate fund worth USD20 million to pay compensation.

The newspaper said Germany’s official inquiry into the crash would not be completed this year as earlier announced. It quoted Air Accident Investigation Authority (BFU) head Joerg Schoeneberg saying, “We’ll be there by the end of the first quarter of the new year.”

Subject: German news