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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

8 Go on Trial Over 2002 Midair Collision

BUELACH, Switzerland -- Nearly five years after an airliner collision killed 71 people over southern Germany, eight employees of the Swiss company responsible for air traffic control in the region went on trial Tuesday.

The employees are charged with negligent homicide and negligently disturbing public transportion.

All deny any responsibility for the collision of a DHL cargo plane and a Bashkirian Airlines jet July 1, 2002, near the German town of ?berlingen. The two DHL pilots were killed in the crash, as were 69 people, including 49 children, on the Russian plane.

Prosecutors have called for them to receive suspended prison sentences of six to 15 months.

The sole air traffic controller working at the time of the incident, Danish-born Peter Nielsen, was stabbed to death in 2004 by North Ossetian architect Vitaly Kaloyev, who lost his wife and children in the crash.

Kaloyev was sentenced to eight years in prison for premeditated homicide in 2005.