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Last Updated: Friday, 8 December 2006, 19:46 GMT
US pilots charged in Brazil crash
Wreckage of the Gol Airlines Boeing 737 (File: 3 October 2006)
The Boeing 737 crashed in the Amazon with no survivors
The Brazilian authorities have charged two United States pilots with endangering air safety following the country's worst aviation disaster.

Joseph Lepore, 42, and Jan Paladino, 34, face trial over the crash in September, in which 154 people died.

The accident occurred when the private jet they were flying collided with a Brazilian passenger plane.

The private jet was damaged but landed safely. The Gol Airlines passenger plane crashed with no survivors.

The two US pilots have denied responsibility for the crash.

Jail sentence

An initial probe by Brazilian investigators found that the two planes were flying towards each other at the same altitude of 37,000 feet (11,000m).

This suggested that the private jet had strayed from its original flight plan, but in statements to police the pilots said they had been authorised to fly at that height.

Warning systems that should have signalled an imminent collision were also said to have failed on both aircraft.

The pilots, who had their passports confiscated by the Brazilian authorities in the days after the crash, are now expected to return to the US until their trial.

They face a prison sentence if convicted.

Helicopters search the rainforest following the crash

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