Flight Data from Brazil Plane Crash Denied to Police

Aviation investigators have denied federal police access to the flight data recorders from a Boeing 737 and an executive jet that collided Sept. 29 in Brazil's deadliest air disaster, an air force official said Wednesday.

All 154 people aboard Gol Airlines flight 1907 were killed when it crashed in the dense Amazon jungle of Mato Grosso state following the midair collision. The Embraer Legacy 600 jet landed safely at a nearby air force base with all seven people aboard unharmed.

The Center for Investigation and Prevention of Flight Accidents, or Cenipa, said it was refusing to give police access to the recorders based on rules under the Convention on International Civil Aviation, also known as the Chicago Convention, designed to protect information given voluntarily to investigators.

"We cannot release the data directly to Brazil's federal police," said an air force communications officer who gave his name only as Lt. Silva, following official policy. "The federal police may retrieve it through legal means, though, which is normal in such cases."

Fagner Santos, a spokesman for the federal police, said they have filed a court petition requesting access to the data for their investigation which could result in criminal indictments.

The flight data recorders of both planes were analyzed in Canada but the cause of the accident has not yet been announced. The Defense Ministry said the voice recorder of the Boeing 737 was found on Tuesday and would be sent to the International Organization of Civil Aviation in Canada for analysis.

Police expect the recorders will help them determine the cause of the collision by revealing the communications between the pilots and traffic controllers.

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