AOPA President Phil Boyer requested that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice intervene in securing the release of two U.S. pilots who have been detained in Brazil for seven weeks. The pilots have been held since a midair collision on September 29 between their Embraer Legacy business jet and a Gol Airlines Boeing 737. Boyer is also president of the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA).
"These U.S. citizen pilots should be treated fairly under the law, and the U.S. State Department must take action to obtain their release and their return to the U.S," Boyer wrote to Secretary Rice. "AOPA is not taking a position on the accident or the investigative process; however, it is critical that due process be followed."
The plight of the two pilots has also garnered the attention of Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), who has requested that the State Department take action.
His letter pointed out that the pilots have been detained without being charged with a crime, which violates international aviation treaties.
He also expressed concern that the pilots might be in jeopardy of being held in Brazil indefinitely because, according to media reports, the investigation is expected to take 10 more months to complete.
November 22, 2006