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Controller killer urges disqualification for pilot in near miss


VLADIKAVKAZ, May 14 (RIA Novosti) - The man who killed a Swiss air traffic controller after his family was wiped out in a mid-air crash has called for the pilot, involved in a near miss in April over the Moscow Region, to be disqualified from flying.

Two Russian passenger airliners carrying some 300 passengers between them were seconds away from colliding in mid-air near Moscow on April 24, 2009 after taking off from Moscow's Vnukovo and Domodedovo airports, air navigation officials said.

One of the planes, a Tu-154, had failed to retract its landing gear after take off and had started to lose speed, which put the aircraft on a collision course with a Boeing some 4 kilometers (about 2.5 miles) away along the same air corridor.

"Concerning the pilot I would like to say he should be threatened at the utmost with being taken off flying for a year. But I believe such pilots should not be let near a plane at all. He must be disqualified, as this is the most criminal negligence. A person who allows such things has no place in the sky," he said.

Kaloyev lost his wife and two children in a mid-air crash over southern Germany in 2002. In February 2004, he stabbed to death the only air traffic controller on duty at the time of the accident, Switzerland's Peter Nielsen.

The air traffic controller on duty in Moscow ordered the Boeing pilots to stop climbing and they responded instantly, which saved the passengers' lives, the government daily newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta reported Thursday.

"The passengers were within an inch of death, the situation was unfolding too fast," the article read.

The incident took place in late April, but was not made public until this week. The planes were both on internal flights, with the Boeing bound for the Far East port of Vladivostok, and the Tu-154 heading for the Volga Region city of Samara.

The Tu-154 crew was temporarily banned from flying following the incident, and are now under investigation over their failure to promptly respond to the controller and retract the plane's landing gear after takeoff, the paper said.

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