US pilots face negligence charges in Brazil crash

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SAO PAULO (AP) — A Brazilian appeals court has ruled two American executive jet pilots should face negligence charges for a 2006 midair collision that killed 154 people.

The ruling overturns a judge who dismissed those charges in 2008 against Joseph Lepore of Bay Shore, New York, and Jan Paladino of Westhampton Beach, New York.

Defense lawyer Joel Weiss said Tuesday he would likely appeal the new decision.

The executive jet collided over the Amazon with a Boeing 737 on Sept. 29, 2006 — killing all aboard the Boeing.

Prosecutors accused the pilots of accidentally turning off a transponder that transmitted the smaller jet’s location and failing to follow their flight plan. Weiss says Brazilian controllers set the planes on a collision course.