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Russian Suspect 'Probably' Killed Swiss Air Controller

Zurich, 16 March 2004 (RFE/RL) -- A Russian man held in Switzerland on suspicion of killing an air-traffic controller, today told a Swiss court he "probably" killed the air controller.

Peter Nielsen, a Zurich-based air-traffic controller, was the sole person on duty the night a holiday charter flight from Russia collided with a cargo plane over southern Germany in July 2001, an area under Nielsen's control.

Vitalii Kaloev's family was aboard the Russian plane and he admitted today that he sought out Nielsen to demand an apology. Kaloev testified that he confronted Nielsen outside Nielsen's home in late February.

Zurich prosecutor Pascal Gossner said Kaloev testified he lost control of himself and can not remember what happened afterwards, though he conceded in court that he "probably" stabbed Nielsen.