|Otherwise you will have more of this in future as G7 is becoming G8
Russian Jet, Plane Collide in Germany
Tue Jul 2, 2:30 AM ET
By OLIVER SCHMALE, Associated Press Writer
UEBERLINGEN, Germany (AP) - A Russian passenger jet filled with children collided with a cargo plane late Monday over southern Germany in a fireball, scattering flaming wreckage for about 20 miles, officials and a travel agent said. There were believed to be no survivors.
Planes Collide Over Germany
Two Jetliners Crash Over Germany (AP)
A Bashkirian Airlines Tu-154 from Moscow bound for Barcelona, Spain, and a two-pilot Boeing 757 from the DHL delivery service were believed to have been flying at an altitude of about 36,000 feet when they hit, said Wolfgang Wenzel, a police spokesman in the German city of Tuebingen.
In Moscow, Tatiana Ostapenko said her Soglasiye Tourist company helped organize the charter trip and that there 44 children on board accompanied by five adults.
The German Embassy in Moscow and Bashkirian Airlines, which carried the passengers, said there was a total of 57 passengers and 12 crew were aboard the flight. Uta Otterbein, a spokeswoman for German Air Traffic Control, said the Tu-154 had 80 passengers and 13 crew aboard.
"We are in shock," Ostapenko said.
The planes came down near Ueberlingen on the northern shore of Lake Constance, which borders Switzerland and Austria. Burning wreckage was scattered over some 20 miles. The area where the plane crashed was some 135 miles south of Frankfurt.
A German official said the collision happened when the Tu-154 pilot was asked by Swiss air traffic controllers to descend but did not respond to the request. The DHL pilot tried to change course, but it was too late to avoid the crash, said Ulrich Mueller, the Baden-Wuerttemberg state environment minister.
Search crews found the Tupolev's flight data recorder, he said.
Witnesses said they heard a noise like thunder and saw a fireball erupt in the night sky, and three large pieces of wreckage plunged to the ground. Scattered fires were sparked in the rural area, but there were no casualties on the ground, authorities said.
"At such an altitude, it would be a wonder if anyone survived," said Wenzel, the police spokesman.
Dirk Diestel, 47, was changing his child's diaper shortly before midnight when he looked up through a skylight and saw a huge fireball in the sky.
"Immediately I thought that something horrible had happened," he said. When he went outside, a landing gear was lying a few feet from his home.
Axel Gietz, head of corporate affairs at DHL in Brussels, Belgium, confirmed that the company's plane went down in the collision, killing the British pilot, Paul Phillips, and his Canadian co-pilot, Brant Campioni. A German air controller, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the DHL plane was going from Bahrain to Brussels.
Hundreds of rescuers worked through the night locating wreckage and bodies, while helicopters flew overhead looking for burning or other visible parts of the planes. By daybreak, rescue workers had recovered 11 bodies from smoking wreckage after the two planes collided at 11:43 p.m.
Bashkirian Airlines, which is headquartered in Ufa, the capital of the southern Russian republic of Bashkortostan, has eight Tu-154s in its fleet of 39 Soviet-designed planes. It mainly serves Russia and former Soviet republics, with some charter flights to other destinations.
The three-engine Tu-154, first put into commercial service in 1972, is the workhorse of Russia's domestic airlines and widely used throughout the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, as well as in China.
A Tu-154 crashed in the Siberian city of Irkutsk last July, killing all 143 aboard. Another crashed on takeoff from Irkutsk in 1994, killing 124 people. The plane reportedly was overloaded.
A Tu-154 belonging to China Southwest Airlines crashed in China in 1999, killing all 61 people aboard. A German-owned Tu-154 collided with a U.S. Air Force C-141 off the coast of Namibia in 1998, killing 33 people, and in 1997 a Tajik Tu-154 crashed en route to the United Arab Emirates, killing 85.
Collisions in the air between large aircraft are extremely rare, especially at the high cruising altitudes where Monday's crash reportedly occurred.
Most aircraft carry transponders, devices that relay a plane's identification, altitude and speed to ground controllers. Controllers use this information to track aircraft and keep them a safe distance from each other. In addition, equipment on many aircraft can read the transponder signals of nearby planes, painting an electronic map to show pilots the aircraft around them.
Many planes also carry collision avoidance equipment that can automatically pull the plane away from an impending collision, or sound an alarm and tell the pilot which way to turn to avoid a crash. Transponders must be regularly cal