Pilots convicted over fatal helicopter crash

Eight people died in the crash four years ago Keystone Archive

Two pilots have been convicted for their role in a helicopter crash in Switzerland four years ago in which seven Indian tourists and a Swiss pilot died.

This content was published on December 22, 2004 - 18:34

The two men were found guilty on Wednesday of negligent homicide, but the owner of the helicopter company was acquitted.

A district court in Sion in southwestern Switzerland gave the pilots, Christian Rosat and Jean-Jerome Pouget, suspended prison sentences. Rosat received five months and Pouget, four months.

But the court acquitted Bruno Bagnoud, head of the Air-Glaciers travel company, which operated the helicopters. The prosecution had sought a one-month suspended sentence for Bagnoud.

All three pleaded innocent to the charge of negligent homicide, claiming that the pilot who died in the crash was to blame.

Lawyers representing the pilots said they would be appealing against the sentences. The prosecutor called the verdicts “satisfactory”.

The accident – one of the worst of its kind in Switzerland – happened on September 26, 2000.

The seven Indian tourists were among a party of around 150 who were taking five-minute sightseeing trips over the Swiss Alps in the Sion area.

Two helicopters – a Bell Jet Ranger and an Alouette III – collided as they were preparing to land and crashed onto a football field in the village of Beuson.

All six passengers and the Swiss pilot on board the Bell Jet Ranger died. One tourist on the Alouette was also killed in the crash.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Two pilots have been convicted over a fatal helicopter crash that took place four years ago.
The owner of the helicopter company was acquitted.
Seven Indian tourists, from Dehli, Ahmedabad in Gujarat state and Kanpur, were killed.
One Swiss pilot also died in the crash.

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