Pilot of plane that killed beachgoers accused of two counts of negligent homicide

Pilot of plane that killed beachgoers accused of two counts of negligent homicide

Almost two years since the horror of a light plane’s emergency landing on a packed beach near Lisbon, the pilot at the controls has been formally accused of two counts of negligent homicide, and one of dangerous flying (see update below).

Two people died when the Cessna 152 came down at S. João da Caparica beach on a hot August afternoon (click here).

Eye-witnesses claim pilot Carlos Conde D’Almeida acted solely to save himself and his passenger (click here).

Also facing charges are three representatives of civil aviation authority ANAC and three people associated with flying school Aerocondor – which owned the plane.

Says Observador this afternoon, the ANAC representatives are the authority’s president, Luís Silva Ribeiro, Operational director Vítor Rosa and head of licensing and training José Queiroz.

The Aerocondor staff members are school director Ana Vasques, flying instructor Ricardo Olim Freitas and director of security José Coelho.

All six are to “answer for a crime against air transport safety, aggravated by the fact that it resulted in the death of two people”, explains the paper, stressing that a month after the accident, when its journalists spoke with Conde D’Almeida he said he did not regret his actions.

“I have been a pilot since 1980, and an instructor for 30 years ”, he told them. “What I did was exactly what they taught me when I was learning how to fly”.

UPDATE TUESDAY

Reported as an exclusive today in tabloid Correio da Manhã is the suggestion that Carlos Conde d’Almeida hid a devastating secret from his employers.

Says the paper, he was invalided out of TAP in 1993 due to a ‘syndrome of depression’.

In 2012, a medical board for Social Services considered that he should be ‘permanently incapacitated from the exercise of his profession due to suffering generalised anxiety disorder”.

Both these illnesses should have been communicated to aviation authorities, says CM, and would have precluded any flying licence renewals.

In plain-speak, it means Carlos Conde d’Almeida should not have been flying.

He faces charges of “violating the rules of aviation”, “knowing that he suffered from illnesses (…) he had the obligation of communicating these when upgrading his medical certification, at which point he would have been given a psychiatric evaluation to see if he was apt or not, which he did not do, in the full knowledge that in an emergency situation like the one that happened, his illness could compromise his ability to perform and his decision-making”, said CM, citing the accusation lodged by public prosecutors.

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