View Full Version : Bashkirian Airlines claim damages from Skyguide and DHL

Alpha Leader
12th Sep 2002, 04:02
Ten weeks after the mid-air collision over Ueberlingen, Skyguide and DHL are now facing claims for damages.

Berlin lawyer Elmar Giemulla has presented both Skyguide and DHL with claims on behalf of Bashkirian Airlines for damages of at least US$15 million, according to German press reports. The airline is seeking this amount as compensation for the hull loss of their TU154 that collided in mid-air with a B757 owned by DHL over Ueberlingen whilst under guidance from Swiss-based Skyguide ATC.

The lawsuit alleges that neither Skyguide’s controller nor the B767 crew had reacted in a timely fashion and prevented the eventual mid-air collision despite their both having been aware of the potentially catastrophic situation. Giemulla is hoping to reach an out-of-court settlement but – failing such an outcome – is willing to file lawsuits.

According to German paper “Stuttgarter Nachrichten”, the same lawyer is seeking another US$4.8 million on behalf of relatives of the TU154 crew.

(Edited with thanks to near enuff is good enuff)

12th Sep 2002, 04:39
Normally lawyers sue everybody in sight; so, why is he not suing Honeywell who made the TCAS in both a/c?

My guess is that the best Bashkirian can hope for is a 50/50 split between Skyguide and themselves given that Swiss regulations presumably give RAs priority over ATC and there's a reasonable chance Skyguide will only get stuck with 25% liability.

Even though the DHL crew might have let ATC know about the RA a bit sooner, the regulations only require ATC notification "when practicable". The courts will compare this to the Baskirian crew's failure to mention their RA at all to ATC when they were in active communication with them.

Possibly DHL's insurer's lawyers will suggest offering Bashkirian some "take this and get lost" money as simply showing up in court will run in the $200,000 range.

12th Sep 2002, 07:31
Why is he not suing Honeywell who made the TCAS in both a/c?

Er...because the TCAS in both aircraft worked perfectly? :rolleyes:

12th Sep 2002, 13:59
Why is he not suing Honeywell who made the TCAS in both a/c?

Er...because the TCAS in both aircraft worked perfectly? When has that ever stopped a lawyer:D

12th Sep 2002, 14:49
Touche :D :D

12th Sep 2002, 21:56
While we don't have a final report, my first reaction is that Bashkirian should perhaps be paying DHL for a replacement aircraft.

12th Sep 2002, 22:17
Putting the tragic aspect of this crash to one side for a minute, the interesting prospect of a court having to decide whether ATC instructions or a TCAS RA take priority now looms and the precedent that such a decision would set.

Alpha Leader
13th Sep 2002, 00:31
It will be a legal precedent in more ways than one, Blue Eagle.

For the moment, Skyguide's public stance is that in any case, they - being a Swiss ATC organisation - cannot be held liable as the accident happened over German territory, suggesting that the German government should be held responsible.

Proceed As Cleared
13th Sep 2002, 09:59
Blue Eagle,

Actually, it should have been ICAO to clarify once and for all whether ATC instructions or a TCAS RA take priority.
And it should have been done latest after the B747/DC10 incident in Japan in January 2001, as recommended by the japanese investigation authorities.

ATC Watcher
13th Sep 2002, 11:18
Actually, if my memory serves me well, ICAO Doc do state in one document that a pilot SHALL follow an ATC clearance unless in emergency , while in another that he SHOULD follow a RA. I do not recall having seen a RA defined as an emergency in ICAO papers....

On the Skyguide/ German authorities issue, if the info we saw is correct , it was a delegation of ATS sevices, not a delegation of airspace . I am not a legal adviser but if this is correct then the Germans are the one ultimely responsible.

as I said ealier, the lawyers are going to have a amazing day ......unless as it was suggested, they all settle things out of court(s) and there is never any trial.....

Dr Mac Hum
13th Sep 2002, 15:04
Some official info from DHL....

There have been reports in the media that two German lawyers announced they would sue Skyguide, the Swiss air traffic control company, and DHL for damages incurred by their client, Bashkirian Airlines in connection with the July 1st air crash which tragically caused the deaths of 71 people.

According to these media reports, the lawyers claim the DHL pilots could have averted the disaster. The lawyers claim to have sent a letter to DHL announcing their legal action.

The following is the response from DHL:

1. We have no knowledge of such letter and have not received it to date.

2. From the transcript of the cockpit voice recorder of the DHL plane, which recorded the last 30 minutes before the crash, and which is in the public domain, it is quite clear that our pilots at no point had any information indicating to them any potential danger.

Specifically, even from listening to the exchange between Swiss air traffic control and the Russian cockpit, the only information they would have had was that another plane identified as BTC 2937 [the Bashkirian Airlines plane] entered the air space at the same altitude that they had been directed to by Swiss air traffic control. They would not have known from where the other plane came nor where it was headed.

Even in daytime, when the skies are much busier, it is common for planes to be traveling at the same level of altitude. This is no cause for concern as air traffic control on the ground, in addition, directs the planes horizontally, i.e. allots them to follow tracks or corridors that ensures there is sufficient horizontal separation (safety distance) between them.

In this situation and based on the information available to our flight crew, no pilot would have had any reason to suspect a dangerous situation or proactively get in touch with air traffic control or the other cockpit.

Furthermore, the DHL flight crew responded to the Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) instructions in full compliance with ICAO and JAA operational procedures.

DHL, therefore, strongly refutes the allegations made by the above mentioned lawyers

We continue to mourn with the families of all the victims of this tragic accident.

3rd Jul 2004, 06:03
Russian Families Sue U.S. for Plane Crash

Associated Press Writer

MIAMI (AP)--Families of six Russians killed in a mid-air collision between two airplanes over Germany are suing aviation equipment manufacturers in the United States, blaming a collision avoidance system for the crash that killed 71 people.

In all, 30 Russian families plan to sue Honeywell International and four other companies involved in the manufacture and distribution of the collision avoidance system they blame for giving pilots instructions that conflicted with orders from a Swiss air traffic controller.

The six lawsuits filed Thursday in Miami allege Honeywell and the other companies failed to provide adequate procedures, instructions and training.

The Bashkirian Airlines flight slammed into the DHL International plane on July 1, 2002, just 43 seconds after receiving its first instructions from a lone staffer on duty at Zurich air traffic control. The Russian jet was taking 45 prize-winning students and their family members to vacation in Spain.

The lawsuit claims that the collision warning system told the Russian jet to climb while the controller told it to descend. The jet's pilot descended.

At the same time, the cargo plane's pilot was told twice by the warning system to descend, leading it into the passenger jet's path, the lawsuit claims.

``The Russian pilots did not have sufficiently clear instructions as to what to do when this alarm system started to give them instructions at the same time that the air traffic controller was giving them conflicting instructions,'' said Gustavo Fuentes, a Miami attorney who filed the six lawsuits.

In a statement, Honeywell International said it had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment on it. But the company said an investigation into the crash indicated that the equipment functioned properly, and claimed that it was the pilots' fault for failing to follow the system's commands.

Similar lawsuits were to be filed in California, New York, New Jersey, and Washington state, Fuentes said.

The controller on duty, Peter Nielsen, was fatally stabbed outside his home on Feb. 24. Swiss police arrested a Russian architect whose wife, son and daughter died in the crash.

AP-NY-07-03-04 0009EDT


3rd Jul 2004, 07:08
What is all this sueing for if Bashkirian's chief pilot still at present time denies that TCAS orders have no priority over ATC instructions... :eek:

ATC Watcher
3rd Jul 2004, 08:07
What I read between the lines of Airbubba post is that some Lawyers are suing Honeywell (and Mitre?) for not having intalled the sense reversal RA mod, that could have prevented (possibly) this collision.
This was inevitable I guess.

But this is totally different from the title of this thread .

Dani, I was not aware of what you said. Is this recent ? do you have a reference? I find this highly surprising to say the least.

5th Jul 2004, 13:25
All this crap about who is going to sue who, I'll sue you if you sue me and if he sues me then I'll sue them, and I want damages from him for making this equipment work but I'll sue you for pi$$ing in my pond. Sorry, but all I can see emerging out of this tragedy is scavenging lawyers feeding from a free meal. There seems to be no end to the heartache of such a loss. The report is out, and is final, there is scope for discussion and for blame. But let the past rest, you can't change it, you can't control it nor can you control the future, live today, now.

Sorry rant over. Shoot me if you want.