UPDATE: I was just talking this afternoon to my colleague Angelo and he squealed when he saw these pictures: "Those are from 'Lost'! Don't you recognize Evangeline Lilly?!"
I must say that I was fooled by the pictures, though I did wonder why the logo on the tail of the doomed jet wasn't in orange and white like that of Gol Airlines. I guess this explains why! Whoever wrote the email that accompanied the pictures has a vivid imagination, even telling us that the passenger who "took" the photos used a Casio camera and had two children from a previous relationship.
I DON"T usually forward pictures that are sent to me by email by friends at work, but these two photos were supposedly taken by a Brazilian man after the brand new Boeing 737 of Gol Airlines was hit by an Embraer Legacy jet being piloted by two Americans over the Amazon jungle on Sept. 29, 2006. All 154 people on board the Gol plane died in the crash, and the Legagcy landed safely in the Amazon. On board the Legacy was American Joe Sharkey who wrote a hair-raising account of it in the New York Times on Oct. 4, 2006. This article is now behind the Times' pay wall so I cannot link to it.
Sharkey has a blog that discusses what happened after the crash. He and the two American pilots were detained by Brazilian authorities in the Amazon for several days. Sharkey was able to leave Brazil relatively quickly, but the two pilots were kept in Brazil for several months as the investigation proceeded. They were finally allowed to return to the US in December, but not after having been savaged by an anti-American press in Brazil that quickly accused them of being at fault for allegedly failing to put their jet's transponder on. The pilots claimed they never turned it off, and that it was in fact the air traffic controllers who had lost contact with both jets and failed to keep the two planes at different altitudes. The investigation continues and the pilots have promised to return to Brazil to face any charges in the future.
This is part of what the message said that was sent along with these photos in the email: "The two photos attached above were apparently taken by one of the passengers in the B737, after the collision and before the aircraft crashed. The photos were retrieved from the camera's memory stick. You will never get to see photos like this. In the first photo there is a gaping hole in the fuselage through which you can see the tail of the plane and vertical fin of the aircraft. In the second photo one of the passengers is being sucked out of the gaping hole.
"These photos were found in a digital Casio Z750, amidst the remains in Serra do Cachimbo. Although the camera was destroyed, the Memory Stick was recovered. Investigating the serial number of the camera the owner could be identified, as Paulo G. Muller, an actor of a theater for children known in the outskirts of Porto Alegre. It can be imagined that he was standing during the impact with the Embraer Legacy, and during the turbulence he managed to take these photos. Seconds after the tail loss the aircraft plunged, so the camera was found near the cockpit. The structural stress probably ripped the engines away, diminishing the falling speed, protecting the electronic equipment but not, unfortunately, the victims. Paulo Muller leaves behind two daughters, Bruna and Beatriz, from a previous relationship."