Page last updated at 02:58 GMT, Thursday, 20 November 2008

Officials blamed for Brazil crash


The aftermath of the July 2007 plane crash

Ten Brazilian government and airline officials have been blamed for the country's worst air accident - which left 199 dead - by an official report.

A passenger plane run by the Brazilian airline TAM crashed into a building after veering off a Sao Paulo runway in heavy rain in July 2007.

An investigation has blamed government agencies for failing on runway safety and TAM for a lack of pilot training.

Prosecutors will now have to decide whether formally to file charges.

The report follows a 16-month civil police investigation.

It also blamed the plane's manufacturer, Airbus, for the lack of a warning system relating to the aircraft's reverse thrusters.

Safety concerns

All 187 people on board the airbus A320 aircraft, and 12 people on the ground, died when it skidded off a wet runway, veered across a busy road and crashed into an air cargo building after landing at Sao Paulo's Congonhas airport.

The accident highlighted concerns about the safety of the short runway at the domestic airport, especially in rainy conditions, says the BBC's Gary Duffy in Sao Paulo.

Former presidents of the Brazilian civil aviation authority (ANAC) are among the 10 people who could now face prosecution.

Officials from Infraero - the body that administers the country's main commercial airports - as well as those who cleared the runway for landing on the day of the crash could also be charged.

One of TAM's directors and a former manager are also named in the report.

A charge of jeopardising air transportation safety could potentially lead to a six-year jail term.

However, our correspondent says the legal process in Brazil is notoriously complicated, and cases can take years before reaching a conclusion.

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