The two US pilots of the ExelAire Embraer Legacy 600
involved in the fatal Amazon collision with the Gol Linhnas Aereas Boeing 737-800 last Friday have reportedly been detained by Brazilian military authorities pending further investigation into the accident in which 163 people were killed.
Brazilian newspapers O Globo
and O Estado de São Paul
o are reporting that captain Joseph Lepore and co-pilot Jan Paladino have had their passports seized. The country's military authorities, leading the accident investigation, are also said to be considering charges of involuntary manslaughter.
A judge in Mato Grosso state ordered their passports confiscated at the request of a prosecutor charged with determining responsibility in Brazil's worst accident, police said late yesterday.
O Globo also reports that the Legacy, which was carrying seven US journalists on a ferry flight familiarisation trip, disobeyed an order to descend to a lower altitude immediately prior to the collision. One of the journalists on board, the New York Times's Joe Sharkey has filed a first hand account of the collision, entitled "Colliding With Death at 37,000 Feet, and Living".
In it, he describes jotting down farewell notes for relatives during the 25 minutes after the collision during which the aircraft lost speed and altitude before landing at a military air strip in the jungle. the aircraft’s mayday was acknowledged by a cargo aircraft in the area, he says, the first time the fact that the aircraft was not flying unidentified has been publicised.