After 15 years, the families of the victims of the TAM accident experience a sense of injustice

On July 17, 2007, the accident, which occurred at Congonhas Airport in São Paulo, left 199 dead.

TIAGO QUEIROZ/ESTADÃO CONTENT/Firefighters try to contain the flames of an accident that occurred during landing and an Airbus TAM that caused an explosion at the company's terminal at Congonhas Airport
Firefighters try to contain the flames of an accident that occurred during landing and an Airbus TAM that caused an explosion at the company’s terminal at Congonhas Airport

On July 17, 2007, an accident with a plane of MAGNITUDEIN Congonhas AirportIN São Paulo, left 199 dead. The plane, where does an Airbus A320 come from Porto Alegre (RS), failed to land and hit an airline building off the runway. Almost fifteen years after the tragedy, the families of the victims experience a sense of injustice. “There is no financial compensation for our losses. You can say any number, but it will never make up for missing a person. It’s very hard to remember that this year, but it’s important that it doesn’t happen again,” said Dario Scott, who lost his only child, a 14-year-old teenager.

The plane crossed the entire airport runway 24 seconds after touching down, crashed into the TAM building and exploded. In addition to the 187 people present on the plane, 12 others who were in the building died. “We were hosting the Pan American Games and the track was being renovated. So there was economic pressure to get the airport back up and running. So, even with the work unfinished, they started work again. That is, there is a possibility that the plane stopped without working both reversers. However, it was a series of “permitted things” for this disaster to happen”, continued Dario Scott, who is also the president of Association of relatives and friends of victims of the Tam flight (Afavitam).

After the accident, TAM began to face a bitter legal battle with the families of the victims. Journalist Roberto Corrêa Gomes, who lost his 49-year-old brother, says that the shock was so great that initially the reaction was to know the causes of the tragedy. Two years after the incident, an effective compensation analysis was conducted. “To sit in front of a lawyer, professional and cold, to negotiate the values… Then the question always arises to me: “How much is a child worth? Mother? One brother?’ How much is a whole family worth? Two whole families died on that plane. Nothing was found to derive a DNA sequence. It’s a tricky thing to answer for those of us who are knowledgeable and lay people. Of course there is an international technique to arrive at this value, which takes into account the age, participation and income of the victim. It’s these extremes that you can’t put into that calculation,” he said.

The Civil Police of Sao Paulo defended the indictment of 13 people, but the Public Ministry of the State reduced it to 11. The case went to the MPF, which denounced thirteen involved, but the justice declared them innocent. There was also an investigation by the Federal Police, which blamed the pilots, something disputed by the families. The Center for the Investigation and Prevention of Aeronautical Accidents, which acts on the causes, and the Civil Police, in their reports, were inconclusive about the responsibility of the pilots, who could have been pushed for mistakes. Roberto refutes information that the compensation was important to the families. “In a popular imagination, TAM family members are making millions. It’s not true! I guarantee you that compensation, except for companies that lost their CEO and that might have that level, but what is the high level when you lose someone? For the rest, what I can say is that these reparations did not change anyone’s economic status. Who was poor, mostly paid a few bills. Those who were middle class, stay middle class. Those who were rich are still more or less rich. In the end, all of them were at a loss because they lost their family members. This commodity remains”, commented the journalist.

*With information from journalist Marcelo Mattos

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