Swiss air traffic controllers could be to blame for air crash

A mistake by Swiss air traffic controllers could be the reason behind last night's tragic air crash. Spanish National Radio has reported, while citing information agencies, that the Bashkirian Airlines Tu-154 collided with a DHL Boeing 757 after both planes had been instructed to lose altitude. This version has also been put forward by Reuters.

The report about Swiss controllers making a mistake has been on the airwaves on state Radio5 in Spain every fifteen minutes. The station said that the reason that led to both planes being lost was the decision that should have saved them.

Earlier, the Spanish information agency EFE, with reference to sources that preferred to stay anonymous, reported that the Swiss side had unofficially told its colleagues about a mistake which, to all appearances, led to the tragedy.

EFE explained that the accident occurred five minutes after the Tupolev left German airspace and entered the zone controlled by the Swiss.

According to the same sources, the cargo Boeing was also in Swiss airspace and German controllers became alarmed when the flight they were expecting to enter their zone did not appear as scheduled.

Immediately after the tragedy, German media reported that the Russian crew had attempted to avoid a collision, but the Boeing pilot made the same manoeuvre. The same German media, with reference to Swiss controllers then accused the Russian crew of failing to react to instructions issued by air traffic control.

Spanish e-media began by reporting that the cargo plane had two more people on board, other than the crew. However, it was specified later that on board the Boeing there were only the pilot and the navigator.

Spanish National Radio at first reported that no one could believe that there could be only two people - the British pilot and Canadian co-pilot - on board such a large aircraft.

EFE also reported that the Tu-154's black box had also been discovered.

The Russian Tu-154 and the DHL Boeing 757 collided at an altitude of 11,000 metres above Germany's Boden Lake area.

The Tu-154 was carrying 12 crew members and 57 passengers, mainly children. There were two pilots on board the Boeing. There were no survivors.

All the passengers, RIA Novosti has learnt from sources at Barcelona's Prat airport, were listed as tourists traveling on holiday to the resort of La Pineda near Tarragona.

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