Pilots blamed for crash that killed Brazil presidential hopeful
The airplane crash that killed Brazilian presidential hopeful Eduardo Campos in the midst of the 2014 electoral campaign was due to pilot and copilot errors plus extreme weather conditions, according to an official report released Tuesday.
The chief investigator, air force Lt. Col. Raul de Souza, said the aircraft was flying at a "very aggressive speed" and the pilot did a maneuver of a kind "not recommended" to avoid landing at the airport in Santos during a heavy rainstorm, which led to the crash in which all seven people aboard were killed.
The plane crashed into a building on Aug. 13, 2014, near the airport at Santos, where Campos, then third in the polls, was to take part in a campaign event.
If the pilots had followed the instructions of the navigation map, "they could have landed safely" despite the heavy rain and high winds in Santos, De Souza said.
The report suggests that pilot Marcos Martins could have been tired because of the long hours he worked in the weeks before the accident.
During the Aug. 1-5 period, the pilot and copilot violated the aviation statute by flying longer hours than allowed, though in the week before the accident they had no irregularities in their flights.
The investigators consulted a specialist who analyzed the cockpit recording and concluded that the pilot's voice was "compatible" with a situation of "fatigue and drowsiness," though that theory has not been proved.
Campos's death upset the 2014 electoral campaign, in which President Dilma Rousseff was reelected for a second term.