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Skyguide starts to pay crash victim families

Negotiations to compensate the other families who lost loved ones continue swissinfo.ch

The first payouts have been made to relatives of some of the 71 people who died in a plane crash over Swiss-controlled airspace last year.

This content was published on November 28, 2003 - 16:05

The Swiss air traffic control agency, Skyguide, confirmed it had reached an out-of-court settlement with the families of twelve of those who lost their lives.

The mid-air crash on July 1, 2002, occurred when a Russian passenger plane carrying over 40 schoolchildren collided with a DHL cargo jet while flying over Überlingen in southern Germany.

Skyguide’s Berlin-based lawyer, Heiko von Schyndel, told swissinfo a settlement had been reached, but declined to specify exactly how much compensation the families would receive.

The German newspaper, “Stuttgarter Nachrichten”, claimed on Friday that the families of each victim would receive compensation of up to $300,000 (SFr390,000).

Von Schyndel – who represents the relatives of 11 crew members and one passenger - said his clients were satisfied with the deal.

“Most of them have lost their breadwinner and they can't wait two or three years to take the issue through the courts. By European standards, it’s quite a good sum,” he said.

The lawyer confirmed that the money had already been transferred to his firm’s account and commended the fact that a settlement had been made out of court.

“We never discussed the question of who is responsible for the crash - the responsibility could be with the pilots, who are among my clients, so we are pleased the case never got to court, where this question could have been raised.”

Compensation fund

Skyguide spokesman Patrick Herr told swissinfo that the payments had been made from a compensation fund jointly established earlier this year by Switzerland, Germany and Skyguide.

Skyguide welcomed the out-of-court settlement, but stressed that the work to compensate relatives of the other victims was ongoing.

“It’s good that we have reached a first agreement, but talks have to go on,” said Herr.

“There are other negotiations that are needed and it will be hard work for all other parties.”

swissinfo

Key facts

The first payouts have been made to the relatives of those killed in an air crash in Swiss-controlled airspace.
Swiss air traffic control agency, Skyguide, agreed to an out-of-court settlement.
Families of 11 crew members and a passenger will benefit.

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