Last night at 01:30, a Tu-154 Bashkirian Airlines passenger jet collided with a Boeng-757, a DHL cargo plane, in German air space. The catastrophe occurred 120km south of Stutgart.
As a western news agency announced, the catastrophe occurred over Lake Konstanz. Witnesses described two fireballs lighting up the sky. By 03:00, two bodies had been found on the lake's shore. The Bashkirian jet was flying from Moscow to Barcelona, with a planned stop-off in Munich. The Boeing-757 was flying empty on a charter flight from Bahrain to Brussels. Two pilots were on board.
As the German Embassy in Moscow announced, the Tu-154 was carrying 57 passengers, including a large number of children, and 12 crew members. So far 11 bodies have been found. It's now clear that there are no survivors. The reasons for the catastrophe are not known. It's suspected that the crew of one of the two planes made an error, resulting in a deviation from its intended flight path. A "black box" flight recorder has been found.
An investigative group working in Germany said that ground control had warned the pilot of the Tu-154 to drop to a lower altitude several times to avoid collision. The Russian pilots did change course, but the automatic pilot returned plane back to its former altitude.
It's now known that 47 children and adolescents were on board the Russian aircraft. As Russian broadcasting company RTR announced, this information has been confirmed by an emergency commission currently meeting in Ufa. The children were supposed to be flying on Monday on an ordinary flight to Costa-Brava, but one of them arrived late, with the result that they took a charter flight.
An emergency hotline has been opened at the Domodedovo airport in Moscow as a result of the catastrophe - (095) 504 02 99.