Court analyzes pilots' defense on Boeing crash
November 5, 2008 - 11:08
The Federal Court of Sinop has begun to analyze the preliminary defenses, presented in the last few days by lawyers for the defendants indicted in the trial over the crash of the Gol Boeing, two years ago, which claimed 154 victims in the North of Mato Grosso. The appreciation will have an essential character, because based on it the magistrate can define how the case will continue, subpoenaing witnesses, or even deciding for the summary absolution of the four air traffic controllers and North American pilots Joseph Lepore and Jan Paladino.
The last defenses were delivered yesterday, all in writing. In them, the accused defend themselves against the charges made by the Federal Prosecutors' Office (MPF). The MPF indicted Lepore and Jan Paladino for the offense of failing to observe a tecnical rule of their profession.
Flight controllers Felipe Santos dos Reis, Jomarcelo Fernandes dos Santos, Lucivando Tibúrcio de Alencar and Leandro José dos Santos de Barros, [were indicted] for the crime of an attempt against the safety of air transportation, defined differently in military legislation. However, the four are also answering before the Military Courts.
In September, Mendes decided to suspend the taking of depositions, by precatory letters, of the witnesses cited in the trial. In Brasilia, those to be subpoenaed were Evair de Souza Junior and Antonio Francisco Costa de Castro, listed by the MPF and by the air traffic controllers' defense. Also, Wellington Andrade Rodrigues and Ramires de Jesus Vasques, called by the air traffic controllers' defense.
In Rio de Janeiro, Sergio A. Salles, called by the defense of Jan Paul Paladino and colonel Luis Fernando Povoas, by Joseph Lepore's defense. Embraer employee Daniel Robert Bachmann, called by the MPF, on receiving a precatory letter via the São José dos Campos (SP) court district, will be heard in Sinop, on the 25th of this month. Mendes's new decision interrupting the progress of the trial was to insure that all the trial procedures up to the present not be invalidated.
The victims' families are awaiting the end of the trial, which has stretched on since September 29, 2006. The episode became known as the second worst accident in the history of Brazilian aviation. Lepore and Paladino piloted the Legacy and were on their way from Rio de Janeiro (sic) to Manaus, from whence they would go to the United States. En route, the jet collided in midair with a Gol Boeing 737, which had 154 people aboard. The two managed to make an emergency landing in the Serra do Cachimbo mountain range, and the six crew (sic) were unharmed.
As for the Boeing, it crashed in an Indian reservation 150 miles from the town of Peixoto de Azevedo. All the crew and passengers. (sic) The Brazilian Air Force, firemen from the northern reaches of Mato Grosso, coroners, and other professionals helped in the work of removing the bodies. To arrive at the location, in the middle of the forest, clearings were opened to allow helicopters to land.
At the time it collided with the Boeing, the Legacy was at 37,000 feet, and not at the 36,000 feet as foreseen in the flight plan. The pilots did not verify the plan and also were not alerted by the controllers.
Source: Só Notícias/Leandro J. Nascimento