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Swiss take fresh look at air show safety

Rescue workers carrying the remains of bodies after Saturday's crash. Switzerland has offered to fly survivors to Swiss hospitals Keystone

Switzerland is to re-examine safety regulations at public air shows in the aftermath of Saturday's fighter jet crash in Ukraine which killed 83 people.

This content was published on July 29, 2002 - 18:11

Swiss aviation authorities are to "carefully" study security rules in order to prevent a crash like that which occurred at an air show on the outskirts of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, said Christophe Keckeis, deputy commander of the Swiss Air Force.

He said checks would be made to see whether such a catastrophe could happen in Switzerland, but added that current regulations made it "highly unlikely" that an incident on a similar scale could be repeated here.

Bern introduced new rules governing public air shows after the 1988 crash in Ramstein, Germany, which killed 70 people.

Fighter jets must keep a lateral distance of 230 metres from the public. According to Kreckeis, the combat aircraft that ploughed into the Ukrainian crowd on Saturday "clearly was not respecting" this distance.

This year, the Swiss Air Force is due to take part in 17 air shows on home soil as well as about 40 overseas.

Swiss pledge SFr200,000

In the wake of Saturday's crash, Switzerland has pledged SFr200,000 ($135600) in medical aid to the victims. The Swiss Development Agency said the Ukraine had accepted the offer.

A portion of the money will be used to purchase medical supplies, said the agency's spokesman, Joachim Ahrens. Ukrainian authorities will decide on Wednesday how the rest of the funds will be spent.

The Swiss president, Kaspar Villiger, has sent the Ukrainian president, Leonid Kuchma, a letter expressing his and the Swiss people's "deep sympathy" for victims and their families.

Air-borne aid

The crash happened after a low flying jet clipped the ground and sheared through a crowd of spectators.

The jet exploded on impact engulfing dozens of people in flames. Alongside those killed, over 110 people were injured, many of them critically.

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation has offered the services of Swiss Air-Rescue aircraft to transport victims to Swiss hospitals.

swissinfo with agencies

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