Friday, December 08, 2006

U.S. pilots charged over Brazil plane crash

From Reuters AlertNet:
Brazilian police charged two U.S. pilots on Friday with endangering air safety in the crash of a Brazilian airliner over the Amazon rain forest that killed all 154 people on board.


The pilots were charged on Friday when they appeared at federal police headquarters in Sao Paulo for questioning, a police spokesman said. The charges carry a maximum sentence of four years imprisonment, he added.

The pilots' lawyers called the charges premature and suggested that their clients were being made scapegoats before the investigation was concluded.

"This act is absolutely prejudiced and discriminatory," said Jose Carlos Dias, one of Brazil's best-known defense attorneys and a former justice minister. "They're rushing to find someone to blame."
The two pilots are being allowed to return to the United Stets despite being charged. Their lawyer says that they have agreed to return to Brazil "at any time during the investigation if authorities request it."

A statement from their employer, ExcelAire, said: "The insistence of the police officials to criminalize this accident investigation runs counter to the safety of the international flying public, and has been the target of worldwide criticism."

Sources: Two U.S. pilots charged over Brazil plane crash - Reuters AlertNet

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