Russian Daily News Information Service

A Russian man, who lost his family in an air crash, has been sentenced to eight years in prison

The trial of the 49-year-old resident of North Ossetia, Vitaly Kaloyev, has recently come to an end in Switzerland. Kaloyev was charged with killing a flight control officer of the Swiss company Skyguide. The court ruled that Kaloyev had committed a premeditated murder of the man, whom he considered guilty of the death of his family. Vitaly Kaloyev's wife and two children died in a plane crash over Lake Constance, which made world news headlines on 2 July 2002. The court sentenced Vitaly Kaloyev to eight years in jail.

The story started at night of July 1st, when the Tu-154 jetliner and Boeing-757 collided in midair over Germany. There were more than 70 passengers, 52 of them children, on board the Russian plane: they were flying to Barcelona for holidays. Both planes were diving in an attempt to avoid hitting each other when the accident happened. Witnesses saw a huge orange fireball explode in the air, scattering flaming wreckage over 20 miles. Vitaly Kaloyev's 11-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter were on board the crashed jetliner as well.

The plane crash occurred in the area controlled by the Swiss company Skyguide. The company's administration originally refused to claim responsibility for the horrible tragedy. The authorities of Germany and Switzerland had to present official condolences to the families of the plane crash victims instead, while Skyguide brought its apologies only two years after the accident. Investigators concluded that the air traffic in the area of the crash was not heavy that night, although it required the work of three flight control officers. However, there was only one officer at the control panel, Peter Nielsen of Denmark.

The question of financial compensations is still unsolved: Skyguide refused to pay, which made the victims of the plane crash sue the Swiss company in February of 2005.

Another tragedy took place on February of 2004: Vitaly Kaloyev, who lost his wife and children in the plane crash over Germany, arrived in Zurich, in an attempt to receive official apologies from Skyguide's Director, Alan Rossier, but received nothing for his pains. The grieving man decided to go to the town of Kloten (a suburb of Zurich), where the above-mentioned flight control officer was residing with his wife and three children. Kaloyev came to the Nielsens', and the two men talked to each other privately; the conversation was held in loud voices. When Kaloyev left, Peter Nielsen's wife found her husband dead with numerous stab wounds. Vitaly Kaloyev was arrested in Zurich the next day.


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