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BRAZIL’S WORST-EVER AIR DISASTER
200 Feared Dead in Sao Paulo Crash
At least 195 people were killed in Brazil’s worst plane crash, a product of a country with an inadequate air travel network that has been plagued by havoc.
Witness Paulo Carol imagined he was at the set of a Hollywood disaster film when right in front of his taxi, an airplane crossed six lanes of the Avenida Washington Luis. He and his passengers fled on foot.
Airbus A-320 operated by the Brazilian airline TAM, skidded off the runway after touching down and collided with cars and through a gas station before slamming into a TAM maintenance building. 180 deaths were passengers on the Airbus jet. Fifteen more deaths included Tam employees in the building.
Luiz Santos who barely escaped the explosion, said “The airplane was coming right at me. I could hear the sound of the engines and then it exploded.” His windows and the back end of his truck were shattered, but Santos and his passenger escaped.
Flight JJ 3054 left Porto Alegre at 5:16 p.m. and landed at Congonhas two hours later. The plane apparently touched down too far down the runway.
Accidents have made flying in South America dangerous to contemplate. Flight controllers are overworked, underpaid and untrained, and rely on aging and defective radar technology in the Amazon.
In September, a Gol airlines Boeing 737 collided with a private jet over the Amazon, killing 154. That investigation is ongoing.
The country’s air travel infrastructure has been unable to keep up with Brazil’s fast economic growth.