The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 20, 2002

Statement on Air Interdiction Program
Statement by the Press Secretary

We are approaching the anniversary of a terrible tragedy, the accidental shootdown of a U.S. missionary plane in Peru on April 20, 2001. The United States Government and the Government of Peru deeply regret this tragic event and the resulting deaths of Veronica and Charity Bowers and injuries to Jim and Cory Bowers, and their pilot, Kevin Donaldson.

We offer our sincere condolences to the victims and their families. Neither government believes that Mr. Donaldson was responsible for this incident.  It should never have happened, and efforts are underway to prevent such tragedies in the future.

The air interdiction program has been suspended since this incident occurred, and no decision has been made on whether or how to resume it. The U.S. Government is currently reviewing the findings and recommendations of the joint U.S.-Peruvian accident investigation report and a separate investigation of the overall air interdiction program.  As we consider whether to resume the air interdiction program, we will carefully examine the recommendations of these reports.  We will also consider the concerns expressed by the U.S. Congress and the public, to ensure that any renewed program focuses on enhanced safety procedures.

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