04/02/09 - 16h38 - updated 04/02/09 - 16h40
Prosecutors appeal absolution of Legacy pilots
by Agência Estado
The Federal Prosecutors' Office (MPF) appealed the decision by Federal judge Murilo Mendes, of the Court of Sinop, in Mato Grosso, to absolve North American pilots Jan Paul Paladino and Joseph Lepore and three air traffic controllers of the accusation of negligence in the trial which is seeking to fix responsibility for the accident involving a Legacy jet and a Gol Boeing. The two aircraft collided on September 29, 2006, causing the Boeing to crash, killing all 154 people aboard. Paladino and Lepore piloted the Legacy, which was damaged, but managed to land.
In the appeal, Federal Prosecutor Analícia Ortega Hartz Trindade asked that the judge's decision be reversed and the trial continue. For the prosecutor, those accused should be condemned to penalties which range from sixteen months to four years of prison. On December 9, 2008, judge Murilo Mendes absolved the two pilots and air traffic controllers Felipe Santos dos Reis and Leandro José Santos de Barros of accusations of negligence. Controller Lucivando Tibúrcio de Alencar was partially absolved of accusations of negligence in establishing communications with the Legacy, but continues to answer for the accusation of omission in configuring radio frequencies on the control console.
For the prosecutor, the pilots could not have been absolved because they were negligent in adopting emergency procedures in relation to the communications failure with the Integrated Center for Air Defense and Air Traffic Control (Cindacta) 4, in Manaus. IN the appeal, she affirmed that, when the two perceived the failure, they should have advised the control center to maintain the safety of all flights.
According to her, the pilots took on the risk of flying from Brasilia to Manaus without communications, on not activating the [emergency] code on the transponder, placing in danger the Legacy and the other aircraft which flew in the vicinity.
In relation to the air traffic controllers, the prosecutor insisted on the accusation of ineptitude against Felipe Santos dos Reis and considered "inconsistent" the judge's arguments for absolving Leandro José Santos de Barros and Tibúrcio de Alencar.