Swiss Company Apologizes For Fatal Midair

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As German investigators published their final report on what caused a fatal midair in the skies over southern Germany, the Swiss air traffic control agency apologized for their role in it. A single controller working for the Swiss firm Skyguide was on duty at the time of the July 1, 2002, crash. Controller Peter Neilson saw the planes converging but told the Russian Tupolev passenger jet to descend instead of climb. The Russian pilots followed his instructions in spite of their TCAS blaring a warning otherwise, and slammed into a DHL Boeing 757 cargo plane. Skyguide's apology statement reads: "Skyguide accepts full responsibility for its errors, and extends its sincere apologies to the relatives of the 71 individuals who lost their lives." In a strange twist, Neilson was killed outside his home in Zurich earlier this year by a man whose wife, son and daughter were all killed aboard the Russian flight. Investigators say the accident was part of an error chain and was not totally the fault of the one controller even though he became a handy focus of blame.