Accessibility links

Breaking News

Russia to Mourn Crash Victims - 2002-07-03

Russian authorities have declared three days of mourning in the region of Bashkortostan, which lost more than 50 of its young people when the charter flight the children were traveling on crashed in mid-air with a cargo jet over southern Germany. All 71 people on the two planes were killed.

Grieving parents of the Russian school children are rushing to get passports and visas to travel to the crash site in the southern German town of Ueberlingen. There, Russian experts will join their German counterparts investigating the incident.

Searchers have found the on-board cockpit voice and flight data recorders from the Russian plane and are studying the devices for possible clues into why the two planes crashed late Monday. The two recorders are seen as critical in the investigation, as bodies and burning wreckage are strewn over a wide area.

Experts from Switzerland, whose controllers were guiding the two planes, and the United States also will join in the probe.

The Russian Tupelov-154 jet was bound for Barcelona, Spain, when it collided in mid-air with a Boeing cargo jet operated by the DHL express delivery company. Apparently, the crash occurred as both planes were taking last-minute action to try and avoid hitting one another.

Officials are exchanging blame for the crash.

Swiss air traffic controllers said they warned the Russian pilot two times to lower his altitude. Russian officials said the pilot was very experienced and that a 50-second warning is not enough time for anyone to react in time.

German officials have also suggested that a 50-second warning is far less than usual, but others disagree.