Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Midair-Crash Memorial and Reminder of Murder ; Grieving Man Who Killed Air Controller Is Detained En Route to Ceremony

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Midair-Crash Memorial and Reminder of Murder ; Grieving Man Who Killed Air Controller Is Detained En Route to Ceremony

Article excerpt

The man, who had blamed the controller for the 2002 midair collision that killed his family, was going to attend a ceremony observing the 10-year anniversary of the accident.

A Russian man who in 2004 fatally stabbed an air traffic controller he blamed for the death of his wife and two children in a midair collision was detained for a time in Munich as he traveled to a ceremony observing the 10-year anniversary of the accident in Germany.

The man's detention on Saturday, which Russian consular officials protested, once again raised delicate questions of grief and vengeance in the unusual case.

The man, Vitaly Kaloyev, a native of the North Caucasus region of Russia, where blood feuds are still an accepted and parallel system to settle scores, was convicted of murder in Switzerland in 2005, but released two years into an eight-year sentence and deported to Russia.

He was returning to Germany on a flight to Munich to attend the ceremony commemorating the victims of the 2002 midair collision over Lake Constance in southern Germany that killed his family. The police detained him for most of the day on Saturday.

"The German authorities apparently do not want to let me attend the mourning ceremony," Mr. Kaloyev told the Interfax news agency in a telephone interview. "They think for some reason that my presence there is unnecessary, although all my family perished in the plane crash."

In the nighttime accident on July 2, 2002, a Bashkirian Airlines Tupolev passenger jet filled with children headed for a vacation collided with a DHL Boeing 757 cargo airplane, killing 71 people, including 52 children.

Though the collision occurred over Germany, a private Swiss air traffic control company, Skyguide, was responsible for monitoring the airspace.

The only controller on duty at the time, Peter Nielsen, a Danish citizen, had instructed the Russian jet to descend, after noticing that the planes were on a collision course.

Partly because radar data was delayed, owing to technical repairs taking place at the time, and because a colleague was sleeping, Mr. …

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