200 feared dead in yesterday’s air crash in Sao Paulo, Brazil

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – A Brazilian airliner crashed and exploded in flames on Tuesday at Brazil’s busiest airport, and around 200 people were feared dead in the country’s second major air disaster in less than a year.

Rescue crews pulled 45 bodies from the wreckage and said none of the 176 people on board the Airbus A320 could have survived. One rescue crew leader said as many as 200 people may have died, including casualties on the ground, the Folha news agency reported.

The plane, flying from Porto Alegre in southern Brazil, lost control on landing at Sao Paulo’s Congonhas airport, which is known for slippery runways and has become a symbol of the country’s chaotic air transport system.

The passenger jet skidded off the rain-soaked landing strip and shot over a bustling avenue just below, slamming into a gas station and cargo terminal where people were working.

“The plane came spinning and passed over our heads at the level of the street lights,” said Luis Santos, who was in his car at the station at the time. “When it hit the ground it exploded sending pieces all around.”

Dozens of ambulances raced to the crash site, where the plane’s tail stuck out of the cargo terminal in flames as firefighters tried to put out the blaze, which spread to neighboring buildings and threatened houses.

Government officials said that at least 11 people were being treated for injuries at hospitals, where three died.

The plane, flown by Brazil’s No. 1 airline TAM Linhas Aereas, was carrying 170 passengers and six crew when it rammed into the carrier’s own cargo building.

In September, 154 people were killed when a Brazilian Boeing 737 clipped wings with a private jet and crashed in the Amazon jungle in what was the country’s worst air accident.

Air disaster in Sao PauloAir disaster in Sao Paulo

Air disaster in Sao PauloAir disaster in Sao Paulo

See full story and videos on Reuters.com.

It is quite unusual in the airline world, that TAM airlines published the flight list in its press release.

By Szafi 

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