Mon, May 14, 2007
Groups "Disappointed" With Criminalization Of Tragic
The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and the Flight
Safety Foundation (FSF) denounced a decision last week by Brazilian
criminal authorities to assign criminal responsibility to two
pilots involved in a mid-air collision between a Gol Airlines
Boeing 737 and a Legacy business airplane over Brazil in September
"We are disappointed that Brazilian police officials continue
down the road of emphasizing 'criminalization' in the wake of last
year's tragic accident, instead of recognizing the premium the
international aviation community places on investigating the root
causes of an accident, so that safety improvements can be made,"
said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen.
FSF President and CEO Bill Voss echoed Bolen's statement. "We
are deeply concerned that the criminalization of the investigation
into the tragic accident of September 2006 could have a negative
impact on aviation safety worldwide. We call on the police and
other authorities to resist the pressure to prosecute and allow
investigators to complete their work, so that the flying public can
feel safe in the skies over Brazil and every other country."
As Aero-News reported,
Federal investigators in Brazil concluded last week the two
American pilots of an Embraer Legacy 600 business jet should be
held liable for the September 29, 2006 midair collision that
brought down a Gol Airlines 737 over the Amazon. Investigators
determined pilots Joseph Lepore and Jan Paladino failed to notice
the Legacy's transponder was not transmitting, until after their
aircraft and the airliner clipped each other.
Bolen and Voss maintained that the decision has the potential to
set a precedent for criminal charges to be applied to any pilot or
party involved in international aviation accidents or incidents, in
effect causing parties in accidents to hide information that is
essential to improving safety.
The two cited another concern: The decision to indict the Legacy
pilots prior to the conclusion of the safety-oriented aviation
accident investigation does not reflect a fair or balanced view of
all factors involved in the accident.
Voss added: "We recognize the need to ultimately see justice
served. However, because the Brazilians have elected to proceed
with a criminal investigation without the benefit of having
concluded an objective aviation safety investigation, we are very
concerned about whether any judicial proceedings could be conducted
in a balanced or impartial fashion."
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