On the night of July 1, 2002 (July 1-2), two airplanes collided in the sky above Lake Constance, Germany. One was a Tupolev Tu-154 that belonged to Bashkirian Airlines; the other was a cargo Boeing 757 that belonged to DHL. Observers reported seeing two gigantic fireballs in the night sky. 71 people perished.
The Tu-154 was carrying children, some with their families, from Bashkiria, an autonomous republic controlled by Russia; most of the victims were children and teenagers. They were headed to a special summer camp in Spain--they had missed their flight two days earlier, and so caught the next one. Among them were children of members of the Bashkirian presidential administration.
The two pilots of the Boeing, Englishman Paul Phillips and Canadian Brant Campioni, were also killed.
After an investigation, it was determined that the Swiss air traffic control firm Skyguide was responsible for the collision. Previously, they had insisted that the pilot of the Tu-154 was responsible for the collision, because he had ignored repeated orders to reduce altitude. Apparently, there had only been one air traffic controller in the tower at the time. The order to reduce altitude was only given fifty seconds before the collision; by then, the Boeing's navigational systems adjusted its path downwards as well, which resulted in the two planes' trajectories intersecting.
Some sources reported that there had been an unidentified woman with the air traffic controller in the tower.
On February 24, 2004, 36-year-old Peter Nielsen, the air traffic controller responsible for the crash, was killed in his home in Kloten, Switzerland by Vitali Kaloyev, a resident of Vladikavkaz. Kaloyev had lost his wife and two children in the crash. After a brief altercation, Kaloyev stabbed Nielsen several times in the chest. Investigators found preparations for suicide in Kaloyev's Welcome Inn hotel room.
Kaloyev was sent to a psychiatric clinic in Germany, where he remains.