Airport Director, Controller Get Eight Years!
You can imagine Vincenzo Fusco and
Paolo Zacchetti feel terrible already. Ditto for Sandro Gualano and
Francesco Federico. They were all involved to one degree or another
in the worst aviation accident to hit Italy in more than 30
But to compound their misery, an Italian court has sentenced all
four men to prison.
Fusco, an airport director, and Zacchetti, an air traffic
controller on duty at Milan's Linate Airport in October, 2001, were
sentenced to eight years. Gualano, the former head of the Italian
air traffic control agency ENAV, and Federico, the former chief of
the company that runs both of Milan's major airports, were given
six-and-a-half years each.
"Italian justice has triumphed," said family association
president Paolo Pettinaroli. "It comes out of such a difficult
trial with its head held high." He lost his son in the crash.
All 116 people aboard a Scandanavian Air Service aircraft bound
from Milan for Copenhagen died when their plane slammed into a
Cessna single-engine aircraft on the runway in dense fog. The two
German pilots on board the Cessna were also killed. Only after the
accident did Italian authorities discover that the airport had no
working ground radar.
All the defendants were convicted on charges related to
negligence for not installing a ground radar system and for
allowing the aircraft involved to proceed without it.
"From the Swedish point of view it's
good punishment," said Swede Anette Forsman, who lost her husband
and 15-year-old son in the crash. She told the Associated Press,
"The things that these people who were involved did were really,
Gualano said the verdict was the result of "foreign pressure" on
the Italian judicial system. "I couldn't have saved any one of the
dead," he told the Apcom news agency after the verdicts were
At Milan's Linate Airport, there is now a functioning ground
radar system. Officials at the airport say they've made big changes
that enhance safety.
Seven other people are charged in the case. They're to be tried
seperately in proceedings that have been hung up on a