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RAF MILDENHALL, England — An air traffic controller in the Royal Air Force will go on trial Monday, charged with contributing to the crash of two U.S. Air Force jets nearly two years ago in the Scottish mountains.

Flight Lt. Malcolm Williams, who is based at RAF Leuchars in Scotland, has been charged with “doing an act in relation to an aircraft causing loss of life” and “negligently performing a duty.”

The court-martial at Faslane Naval Base in western Scotland will begin at 2 p.m. Monday and is expected to last more than one week, said a spokesman with the RAF in Scotland.

Williams was on duty at the base in central Scotland on March 26, 2001, when two F-15s from the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, England, crashed into a mountain.

The pilots of the two jets were killed.

They were Lt. Col. Kenneth Hyvonen of the 48th Operations Support Squadron and Capt. Kirk Jones of the 493rd Fighter Squadron. They were on training missions when their jets slammed into the Cairngorm Mountains at an altitude of about 4,000 feet.

The Air Force Accident Investigation Board concluded its report a few months after the crash, but it has been withheld from release until after the trial so as not to prejudice any potential juror.

The Ministry of Defence inquiry includes information that will be released at the court-martial, a spokeswoman said.

The trial has been delayed several times, but is now expected to proceed as scheduled, the RAF spokesman said Tuesday.


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