Cenipa: ‘No Indication’ Pilots Are To Blame

 - December 27, 2007, 9:30 AM

Cenipa, Brazil’s aviation accident investigation agency, released a statement to the Brazilian news agencies in November that appears to dispute the claims of the
Brazilian authorities, who assert that ExcelAire pilots Joe Lepore and Jan Paladino disengaged their transponder before a September 2006 midair between their Legacy 600 and a Gol Airlines Boeing 737-800 over the Amazon Jungle. In the statement, Cenipa ruled out the possibility that the transponder was placed into standby mode accidentally, adding that “up to now, there are no indications that there occurred an intentional act on the part of the crew” to turn off the transponder. Cenipa has yet to issue its final report on the accident, which killed all 154 aboard the airliner. Meanwhile, a Brazilian appellate court in November ruled 2-1 that Lepore and Paladino can’t testify via video from the U.S. Defense lawyers are appealing this decision with Brazil’s Superior Tribunal of Justice.