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Spanish air traffic controller sent to prison

Sun 30th Jan 2011

One of Spain's air-traffic controller has been handed a prison sentance of 6 months after leaving his post in the control tower.

The controller in question was an employee of the military, and had finished his shift on August 6, 2007 and passed control over to his supervisor. His superior ordered him to remain at his post until a military helicopter had been able to land. The flight from Melilla had been delayed due to a mechanical problem.

The order was ignored, as were repeated instructions for him to return to his desk by calls made to his mobile phone.

The controller had been working for 10 consecutive days due holiday cover for absent colleagues, a court heard.

The helicopter had been scheduled to arrive at 15.30hrs, and the controller left his post at 16.20hrs when his shift had originally supposed to end.

Spain's Supreme Court rejected his appeal, stating how procedure dictated that he should have made a formal complaint about the actions of his superior after having dealt with them as opposed to take mattters into his own hands.

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