As Investigation Of Midair Proceeds, Intense Emotions

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The tenor of the investigation, and the accusations against the pilots, have raised concerns about accuracy and fairness. "We call on the Brazilian government to stay strong in the face of immense public pressure and continue to respect the integrity of the investigation and not rush to judge the various players in this accident," said Bill Voss, president of the Flight Safety Foundation, in a news release last week. American attorneys representing victims' families have said they will conduct their own investigation. "Official reports often suffer long delays, and official investigations often include manufacturers and others who could potentially be held responsible," lawyer Lexi Hazam told The Associated Press. Brazilian authorities have said the Legacy jet was assigned to fly at FL360. The collision took place at FL370.

Some reports have also said that air traffic controllers lost radio contact with the Legacy crew shortly before the collision. The incident has fueled anti-American feelings in the country, say some observers. "If those two pilots had been out on the street, I think a mob would have torn them to bits," a commenter wrote to Brazzil Magazine online. "Before the invasion of Iraq, there was already a lot of anti-American sentiment, here, but now, this country is about 99 percent anti-American, and this mid-air collision has let the floodgates open."