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Swiss Controller Homicide

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Well-known member
Nov 25, 2001
Russian Found Guilty in Controller's Death

document.write('<a href="/article/pho?guid=20051025/435dadc0_3ca7_1552720051025-628390755'+sendPath+'" />'); [URL="http://eimg.net/harvest_xml/NEWS/img/20051025/435dadc0_3ca7_1552720051025-628390755.jpg"]http://eimg.net/harvest_xml/NEWS/img/20051025/435dadc0_3ca7_1552720051025-628390755.jpg[/URL]Monument on the grave of Vitaly Kaloyev's wife and two children, Diana, 4, right, Konstantin, 10, and Svetlana, 44, in the city of Vladikavkaz, southern Russia, in this Feb. YURI BAGROV

October 26, 2005 1009 AM EDT
ZURICH, Switzerland - A Swiss court on Wednesday found a Russian architect guilty of premeditated homicide for the killing of the air traffic controller on duty at the time of a midair plane collision in which his wife and child were lost.
The Zurich Superior Court is expected to pass sentence later Wednesday in the case of Vitaly Kaloyev, who has acknowledged that he must have killed Peter Nielsen in February 2004, but said he could not remember the slaying. Premeditated homicide is a lesser charge than murder and carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison under Swiss law.
Ulrich Weder, the Zurich cantonal (state) prosecutor, has asked the court to sentence Kaloyev to 12 years' imprisonment, asserting that the crime was clearly premeditated homicide, but fell short of murder because Kaloyev had not acted out of malice.
Kaloyev, 49, told the court Tuesday that he never wanted to cause physical suffering to anybody and only sought an apology from the head of the air navigation service Skyguide, whom he called the "main culprit" in the July 1, 2002, air crash that killed his family.
Nielsen, 36, died of multiple stab wounds in front of his wife in his back yard. Kaloyev was later arrested in Zurich.
Kaloyev's lawyers pleaded for manslaughter and said the defendant was tormented by great psychological distress at the time of the crime. They said any prison term should not exceed three years.
Nielsen was the sole controller on duty when the midair collision occurred over southern Germany, in the airspace supervised by Skyguide.
Nielsen gave only 44 seconds' warning to a Bashkirian Airlines plane and a DHL cargo aircraft that they were getting too close to each other. He told the Russian plane to descend - sending the jetliner straight into the cargo jet.
The crash killed 71 people, including Kaloyev's wife and his two children who were on their way to visit him in Spain, where he was working. He immediately went to the crash site and found his daughter's body almost intact.
Kaloyev has been held in a psychiatric ward since his arrest for fear that he might attempt to commit suicide.
A psychiatric opinion prepared for the court said Kaloyev would have had diminished understanding of his actions, and that he might suffer from a personality disorder.
Asked by Judge Werner Hotz, head of the three-judge tribunal, whether he had health problems, Kaloyev answered: "I am not interested in my health."

I saw this today in the news. Very sad for everyone involved.
I saw a show on Discovery about this. There was confusion about whether to follow a TCAS RA or the controllers instructions. I believe that DHL followed the RA while the Russian plane followed the controllers instruction. The ATC facility that was covering the area was a private ATC facility.
Air Disasters was the show on NGC. What I found interesting was that one of the spokesman for the Russian Pilots (or perhaps the airline, I am not sure which) said that when the TCAS says to "Climb Climb" it doesn't make it sound urgent, but when the controller says "Descent!!! Descent!!!" it sounded urgent, so they followed the Controller's instructions.

Interesting (and very sad) chain of events.

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