Missionary pilot "wasn't blameless" in Peru incident, says report
A U.S. investigation into why a missionary plane was shot down by Peruvian military has determined that the missionary plane was partly at fault. "It wasn't blameless," an unnamed senior administration official tells CBS News. "They didn't do everything they were supposed to do [to avoid the incident]."

The report says that pilot Kevin Donaldson filed a round-trip flight plan when he departed Equitos for Islandia, but didn't refile the plan for the return trip. It also says Donaldson either did not have his radio turned to the correct frequency to hear the Peruvian military's warnings or had turned the radio off completely.

Whether the findings are true or not, no one is saying they're justification for the shooting, which resulted in the deaths of missionary Roni Bowers and her 7-month-old daughter. "Even if a pilot makes these technical errors, we have to have a system that does not shoot down innocent aircraft," an unnamed official tells CBS. "No matter what, the Peruvians blew through procedures way too quick." (It's unclear from the article how many unnamed officials are being quoted here.)

The brunt of the criticism in the report, scheduled for public release any day now, will likely be directed at the Peruvian military. The jet never attempted to warn the make missionary plane visually, and fired into the fuselage without any warning shots.

In recent interviews and official testimony, the missionaries and their representatives gave other reasons for the incident. Hank Scheltema, the missionary group's aviation director, told Reuters "there was a breakdown in communications" due to language barriers. "The problem on board was, so I understand, that the Americans did not speak Spanish well, nor did the one Peruvian speak English well," he said.

Members of Congress, including Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.), are putting the blame squarely on the Peruvian military without qualification. "This wasn't even a close call—there was no reason to shoot down that plane," Hoekstra told The Miami Herald after reviewing video and audio tapes of the incident with missionary Jim Bowers. "It was chaotic, lacked discipline and was very unprofessional." The paper quotes Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, as saying the incident will mean reexamining U.S. involvement in bringing down suspected drug planes.

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