Judge in Sinop condemns an air traffic controller for the crash of the Boeing and absolves another one
Source: Só Notícias/Alex Fama
The Judge of the Federal Jurisdiction of Sinop, Murilo Mendes, has published today the decision in regards the behaviour of the Air Traffic Controllers in the case of the accident with the Boeing of Gol back in 2006 in the region of Peixoto de Azevedo which resulted in the death of persons. According to the sentence, Lucivando Tibúrcio de Alencar was condemned to three years and four months of detention, which will have to be converted into the provision of communitarian services and a temporary suspension of the function as air traffic controller, as for the other operator, Jomarcelo Fernandes dos Santos, he was absolved. The crime put on charge against the accursed was that of offense against the safety of air transport. Lucivando can appeal to this decision.
The judgement about the accident was divided into two. The first, according to what Só Notícias has already reported, the pilots of the Legacy jet were condemned to four years and four months of detention, in half-open regime and that they are prohibited to carry out their profession during that period in this country. As for this judgement only the behaviour of the air traffic controllers, Lucivando and Jomarcela was analysed.
According to the judge, Lucivando continues to work, which is not the case for Jomarcelo. "He continues, as his management thought that the facts brought forward by the Public Prosecutor are not more that a single error in this career. The thesis of the exclusion due to the penal responsibility which takes into account the actual situation of the operator is not applicable to Lucivando, a professional known to have capacity to fill out with efficiency the services as air traffic controller. In regards to him the system didn’t fail. And taking this into account Lucivando has to held responsible for negligence”.
In its defence Lucivando allegated that he is not the one which has input the frequencies to used at his working station, but this task is of the team boss and of the supervisor of the team.
“But the basic rules are as well in regards to the responsibility of the air traffic controller. And this wouldn’t be different. What it is concerning of the responsibilities of air traffic controllers, it rules that, to what is of interest for this case, the following:
a) perform always the checklist foreseen for the sector always when the service is taken over, and this independent of the time that it will remain at the position; b) prepare the screen for operation according to the standards established by the unit Manual; c) issue traffic instructions and clearances as well as make coordinations, transfer of communication and control with other sectors and adjacent units, in a way to assure a correct execution of the rules and procedures of the air traffic; d) check periodically the correct functioning of operation of the VHF frequencies as well as the other tools put at its disposal, immediately inform the supervisor of any noted failure or deficiency the genuine”.
Mendes understands that the culpability, understood as the degree of reproaches made to the conduct on behalf of Lucivando. “If the errors of the system cannot be considered for the acquittal, then they must at least be considered in the attenuation of the punishment. The consequences were very severe. Hundred and fifty four persons died as consequences of the accident and this almost tell everything”.
As for the case of Jomarcelo which, as the time of the accident had only nice months working in the position, he didn’t bring forward the conditions to be an air traffic controller, but he did operate three sectors without any type of assistance. “Being a system inadequate and likely to confuse experienced air traffic controllers, what to say of him when analysing the situation of a controller whose competence which was exposed by the Sergeant which did test him at the Training Institute”. According to the depositions of this Sergeant, Jomarcelo always was a “controllers with a lot of restrictions” but he was approved due to the very reduced staff numbers.
Mendes points out that around 19h01, when the transponder of the Legacy went of the air, the air traffic was busy communicating with other aircraft “and so he probably didn’t see the switching off. At 19h17 Lucivando came to the position. For 12 minutes Jomarcelo wouldn’t have seen the Legacy at the screen. This would have been a lot for an effective air traffic controller, for a controller with recognized qualities. It is true, looking at the situation as it was what can be said is that very lucky that Jomarcelo didn’t commit other errors of such gravity as the ones put on him by the Public Federal Prosecutor. This was merely luck, as the required competence he didn’t have”.
The Magistrate put all the lack of experience of Jomarcelo to the training of the operators. “As for this, I don’t exclude the thesis that the operator was induced to believe that he was a real professional. Jomarcelo now is moved away from air traffic service – this was the information I have received. And this was not due to the penal action intended. What occurred was that the error was corrected after the accident. This, after the authorities of the Air Traffic System have put to work a person for their ATC-system, and this person didn’t have the capacity – according to witnesses heard in Brasilia – to approach air traffic control screens. This due to his well identified deficiencies, and so we can only thank that he didn’t make much more mistakes. And that he just erred in this only one”.