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Brazil Plane Crash Kills at Least 200

Brazilian authorities say at least 200 people are dead after a passenger plane skidded off a rain-slicked runway on landing in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The Airbus A320 jet belonging to Brazil's TAM airline slid into a building and gas station belonging to the carrier and exploded into flames. The plane was carrying 176 passengers and crew. Many people on the ground were also killed.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has declared three days of national mourning for the victims of the crash.

The governor of Sao Paulo state Jose Serra says none of the plane's 176 passengers and crew could have survived the searing heat of the fire. Authorities have recovered the bodies of at least 40 people from the wreckage.

The flight had arrived in Sao Paulo from Porto Alegre in southern Brazil.

The runway at Congonhas airport has been criticized for being too short for large planes landing in rainy weather. A small plane skidded off the runway during a heavy downpour on Monday, but no one was injured. A local court in February banned three types of large jets from using the runway due to safety concerns, but the decision was later overturned on appeal.

This is Brazil's second major aviation disaster in less than a year. Last September, 154 people were killed when a Brazilian passenger plane collided with a small executive jet and crashed into the Amazon jungle. The executive jet landed safely.

Some information for this report provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.