Case 106

Peter Nielsen

*** Content Warning: child victims ***

[Part 1 of 2]

As midnight approached on July 1 2002, the German village of Owingen was disturbed by a deep rumbling from above. Residents assumed an unforecast storm was brewing, but seconds later a thunderous explosion roared as a large ball of fire illuminated the night sky. 

It wasn’t a storm at all, but a mid-air collision involving DHL Flight 611 and Bashkirian Airlines Flight 2937. When the complex air crash investigation reveals that human error is partly to blame, not everyone is prepared to accept it as an innocent mistake.



Casefile Presents



Research & writing – Milly Raso

Narration – Anonymous Host



‘Flatline intro’ and ‘Come play with me’ intro and outro –

Audio production – Mike Migas 

Scoring – Mike Migas and Andrew Joslyn



Logo and website design – Paulina Szymanska



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Collision – Ksenia Kaspari

The Mammoth Book of Air Disasters and Near Misses – Paul Simpson



Bashkirian Airlines Flight 2937 & DHL Flight 611 Investigation Report – German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accidents

The Uberlingen Mid-Air Collision: Lessons for the Management of Control Rooms in the Process Industries



Transcript of Original Tape Recording – Accident DHX611/BTC2937 



71 die when two jets collide high above southern Germany – The New York Times

Planes crashed in ‘ball of flames’ – CNN

Midair jet collision kills 71 – Los Angeles Times

Lake Constance plane crash kills 71, mostly children – Deutsche Welle

Germany mid-air crash kills 70: 52 children among victims – Dawn

52 kids among dead in midair collision – ABC News

Russians defend crew in air crash – The Baltimore Sun

Unfinished Flight 2937 – Trud

Losing control of the skies – The Guardian

Families arrive to confront the loss of their children – The Guardian

Russia mourns prizewinning pupils doomed by a twist of fate – The Guardian

Russian city grieves as teen burials begin – Chicago Tribune

Grieving Ufa buries 28 crash victims – The Moscow Times

Russian town remembers students lost in crash – Arizona Daily Sun

Russia mourns mid-air victims – CNN

Putin mourns air crash victims – CNN

Boeing flown by ‘top drawer’ British pilot – Independent

Heartbreak of British pilot’s family – The Telegraph

‘He loved flying,’ pilot’s sister says – The Globe and Mail

Mid-air collision inquiry begins – CNN

Plane crash remembered; one mourner not welcome – The New York Times

Plane crash memorial unveiled – Expatica

Memorial unveiled for air crash victims – SwissInfo

Air traffic man stabbed to death after jet crash – The Telegraph

Murdered airman loved ice hockey – B.T

Man whose family died in air crash is arrested for murder of controller – The Telegraph

Plane crash killing trial starts – BBC

Verdict expected in air-traffic-controller killing trial – Breaking News

Swiss convict 4 air controllers over 2002  jet crash – Reuters

Air traffic managers convicted over 2002 collision – The Irish Times

Revenge, but no sweet life for killer – Chicago Tribune

‘I am at odds with God’: Avenger for kids and wife never regretted murder – RT360

Nothing left to lose: grief-crazed murder suspect haunted by family’s air deaths – The Guardian

The heartbreaking multiple tragedies behind true-life plane crash that drove a dad to murder – Mirror

The last catastrophe – Spiegel Online

One Russian’s tale of loss and vengeance – The Irish Times

Dad’s spiral into murder – The Sun

Vitaly Kaloyev awarded with the medal ‘To the Glory of Ossetia’ – Komlomolskaya Pravda



Air Crash Investigations: Deadly Crossroads

Seconds From Disaster: Death in Mid-Air



Bashkirian Airlines Flight 2937 & DHL Flight 611: mid-air collision analysis – Aviation Knowledge

Accident description: Tupolev 154M Aircraft – Aviation Safety Network

Accident description: Boeing 757 Aircraft – Aviation Safety Network

The German Midair: Lessons to be Learned – International Aviation Safety Association

Biographies of the Casualties of Uberlingen Disaster

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