German Probe Blames Late Warning in 2002 Air Collision | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 19.05.2004
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German Probe Blames Late Warning in 2002 Air Collision

An investigation into an airplane crash in southern Germany that killed 71 people two years ago, has blamed a fatal series of errors for the catastrophe. The results of the probe published on Wednesday, confirmed that a Swiss-based air traffic controller noticed too late that a cargo plane and a Russian charter airline filled with schoolchildren were on a collision course before they slammed into each other on July 1, 2002. The report said the controller issued his first instructions only 43 seconds before the crash. The Russian crew obeyed the controller, sending the jetliner with 69 people aboard straight into the DHL plane. "This accident happened because many actions and failures to act came together that, viewed on their own, might only have a small significance for air safety," the German investigators said. Swiss air traffic control company Skyguide apologized in reaction to the German report. "Skyguide accepts full responsibility for its errors, and extends it sincere apologies to the relatives of the 71 individuals who lost their lives, " the company said.