Russians get pay-out from Swiss for air crash

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The Independent Online

Families of Russian children killed in an air collision two years ago have reached a multimillion-dollar compensation deal with Switzerland's air-traffic control company.

Families of Russian children killed in an air collision two years ago have reached a multimillion-dollar compensation deal with Switzerland's air-traffic control company.

A Russian charter jet collided with a cargo plane on 1 July 2002, 43 seconds after receiving its first instructions from a lone staffer on duty at Zurich air traffic control. The accident over southern Germany occurred in Swiss-controlled airspace, and investigators pointed to failings at Swiss company Skyguide.

A Skyguide spokeswoman confirmed the settlement but said she could not immediately disclose the sum to be paid to the families of the 28 children who died in the crash.

The families' Germany-based attorney, Michael Witti, said they each would receive "a six-figure sum in US dollars". Swiss newspapers have reported the settlement would be about $150,000 (£82,000).

Mr Witti said he had decided to drop plans also to seek compensation in US courts. "Psychologically, it's helping [the families] to find finality," he said. "A person has to settle at some point, and the offer is significant in European terms."

A total 71 people died when the Bashkirian Airlines Tu-154 hit a DHL International Boeing 757-200. Skyguide agreed compensation worth a reported $300,000 with the families of the 12 Russian crew. Other cases have yet to be settled.

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