Swiss air traffic controllers have admitted that the automatic warning system was turned off in their operating room when the two aircraft crashed in mid air, killing 71 people on Tuesday, 52 of whom were Russian children on holiday.
A spokesperson for the Swiss air traffic control company, Skyguide, has declared that it is standard procedure to switch off the automatic collision warning system on nights when there is only light traffic.
It has since been revealed that only one air traffic controller was working when the incident took place. The Boeing is reported to have been flying on automatic pilot which received a warning from its automatic crash alert system that another aircraft was nearing and which altered the route.
Initial accusations by the Swiss authorities that the Russian pilot did not understand English have been exposed as pure conjecture. The Russian pilot, Aleksandr Gross and his co-pilot both spoke English and had great experience in international flight. Skyguide now admits that there was no problem in communication between air traffic control and the Russian aircraft.
The examination of the black boxes should reveal what happened in the following hours but yet again, the finger is pointed at Russian aviation unfairly and without any foundation.
Timofei BYELO PRAVDA.Ru
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969