Brazil Lets Legacy Pilots Go
The Federal Regional Court of the First Region of Brasilia said in a unanimous ruling that Joseph Lepore and Jan Paladino have been granted permission to retrieve their passports and leave Brazil within 72 hours, according to a report yesterday from The Associated Press. The two pilots have been held in Brazil since Sept. 29, when the Embraer Legacy they were flying collided with a Gol Airlines 737, resulting in the loss of all 154 aboard the Boeing. The pilots had been held pending an investigation into the crash and possible manslaughter charges, but a federal judge Tuesday found no legal grounds for holding the pilots and ruled the return of their passports -- with one condition. The pilots "must agree to return to Brazil for any further inquiry and judicial action, the court said," according to the AP.
Records so far included in the investigation suggest the Legacy filed for 36,000 feet but was cleared by Sao Jose dos Camps Tower to fly at 37,000 feet, where it remained until striking the 737. Radio communications and the failures of both the Boeing and Embraer's collision-avoidance equipment remain key points in an investigation expected to continue for at least 10 months before reaching conclusion.