Yesterday, a U.S. State Department and Government of Peru joint investigation team released its report (video | photos) on what led to the April 20 shooting of a missionary plane over Peru.
American missionary Veronica Bowers and her 7-month-old daughter, Charity, were killed in the incident. Pilot Kevin Donaldson suffered serious bullet wounds to his legs, and Bowers's husband and young son were unharmed.
Mistaken for a drug plane, the aircraft was shot down under a drug-fighting alliance between the two countries. Conclusions in the report point to procedures in the pact that have degenerated over time becoming "less detailed and explicit." The Associated Press reported that Rep. William Delahunt (D-Mass.) opposes the U.S. providing data that can lead to shoot-downs. Such agreements have been suspended in Peru and Columbia.
"Familiarity, routine leads to sloppiness, and I think this had to be anticipated, and it's now time to change the policy," he said.
Added to the situation was a complete communications break down between the missionary plane, the tower, and tracking aircraft. The breakdown was caused by language barriers, wrong frequencies, and an overloaded communications system.
The Washington Post recreated the scene as a CIA aircraft tailed the suspected drug plane:
Inside the CIA cockpit, a voice recorder catches the low beat of pop music and the English and Spanish radio conversations of two American pilots and the Peruvian official aboard as they guide a Peruvian A-37B toward the suspected drug flight. ...1
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