Swiss embassy regrets President's absence from funeral of victims to bodensee air crash

The Swiss embassy regrets the fact that President Kaspar Villiger of Switzerland did not attend the funeral of victims to a recent air crash over Germany. Mr Villiger had planned a visit to Bashkortostan's capital city of Ufa for the funeral but had to cancel it due to an urgent request of the Bashkir authorities.

It should be recalled that the Russian foreign ministry had conveyed to Switzerland Bashkortostan's fears that the parents would feel a terrible emotional shock at the burying ceremony. Moscow thought it could have had a negative impact on the Swiss president's sojourn in Bashkiria.

The embassy argued the visit would have allowed the Swiss leader to express condolences to the local authorities and the near and dear of those killed in the air accident, and render assistance directly to the families of those perished.

The Swiss government is ready to express its sympathy and compassion and send a top-level delegation to Bashkiria as soon as the Bashkir authorities see it possible, assured the embassy.

The charted Bashkirian Airlines Tu-154 jetliner and a Boeng-757 cargo plane operated by the DHL international delivery service collided in mid-air at an altitude of 11,000 metres over southern Germany in the early hours of July 2nd. The Tu-154 carried 12 crewmen and 57 passengers - 52 children and 5 adults accompanying them for a summer vacation. Two pilots flew the Boeng-757.

Experts agree that Swiss air traffic controllers, who guided the planes at that moment, are to blame for the catastrophe.

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