Brazil: Lawyer Blames US Pilots for Showing Off and Wants to Hear NY Times Reporter

American lawyer Manuel von Ribbeck, one of the partners of  Ribbeck Law office, which is representing 40 relatives of victims killed in the collision between an executive Legacy jet belonging to New York based ExcelAire and a Boeing 737, told Brazilian reporters, on Thursday, November 9, that he has enough evidence to prove that the American pilots made risky maneuvers over the Amazon forest to show off.

Ribbeck also revealed that his law office has hired experts to probe what has happened during the flight that ended up causing Brazil’s worst accident ever, with 154 deaths. He brought with him a Canadian engineer expert in Boeing accidents, Max Vermij, who is in charge of coordinating the job of other specialists working for the law office.

Ribbeck mentioned that his information on pilots Joseph Lepore and Jan Paladin’s negligent behavior came from a top source in the Brazilian Air Force (FAB): "They were conducting such maneuvers," stated the American lawyer, "because the company ExcelAire was happy with the purchase of the jet and it wanted to show off the equipment to journalists and businessmen who were in the flight."

"Apparently the Legacy’s pilots were making maneuvers, playing over the Amazon in a negligent way and the government has confirmed this," he added.

For Ribbeck there are two main culprits in this Brazilian tragedy: the Legacy’s pilots and Honeywell, the American company that manufactured the TCAS (Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System). The system should have prevented the collision, but apparently malfunctioned.  

The equipment should have been able to detect an approaching plane, said Monica Kelly another American from the same law office: "Even if the transponder wasn’t working or had been turned off, the alarm should have sounded. The company should be held responsible for this failure."

On Monday, November 6, the Ribbeck Law office filed a criminal lawsuit in a New York court against Lepore and Paladino as well as Boeing, Honeywell, and ExcelAire Service.

According to Ribbeck, depending on how the investigations proceed, Brazilian companies and people in Brazil will also be sued, including Gol Airlines, Embraer (the Legacy’s manufacturer) and air traffic controllers on duty on September 29, when the accident occurred.

To make theirs a stronger case, the US lawyers say they will use the information contained in the black boxes of both planes and will also try to interview Joe Sharkey, the New York Times reporter, who was in the Legacy when the accident occurred.

Sharkey’s piece on the Times recounting his experience in the fateful flight was quite sympathetic to the American pilot’s cause and critical of Brazil’s authorities and skies management. His piece drew a barrage of criticism from Brazilian authorities and journalists who called him arrogant and misinformed.


You May Also Like

Rosy News in Brazil Keeps Market Humming Ahead

Latin American stocks gained ground, with Brazilian and Mexican shares getting a boost from ...

Brazil’s Bellinati Plays a Jobim Few People Know

Possessing a quicksilver virtuosity, arranger, composer, scholar, and guitar virtuoso Paulo Bellinati, indisputably one ...

The Brazilian Landless Movement Won’t Rest Until They Get Their Revolution

One of the most radical social movements in Brazil is the Landless Movement (Movimento ...

Brazil Gets Its Own Cramer Office

US software company Cramer announced yesterday the opening of its newest office, in São ...

March in Brazil Urges Better Housing and Sanitation

Brazil’s National Urban Reform and Cities Rights March, which got underway Monday, August 15, ...

American pilots Joe Lepore and Jan Paladino

Brazil’s Supreme Says American Pilots Can’t Be Compelled to Testify in Brazil

Ellen Gracie Northfleet, the chief of the Brazilian Supreme Court (STF), told the president ...

Brazil Readies Free Trade Agreement with Palestine

Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and his Development, Industry and Foreign Trade ...

Lawyers for Sister Dorothy’s Murder Trying Again to Get Him Out of Jail

Vitalmiro Bastos de Moura, aka Bida, the landowning farmer accused of being one of ...

Presidents Lula and Bush

Lula’s Popularity is Low in the Americas, But Bush’s Is Even Lower

Ecuador's president Rafael Correa is the Latin American leader with most support in the ...