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Brazil's President Assures Full Probe Into Tragic Jet Crash


Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is promising a thorough investigation into this week's jetliner crash at Sao Paulo's Congonhas airport that killed at least 189 people.

In a nationally televised address Friday, Mr. Lula said that everything "possible and impossible" is being done to determine the cause of Tuesday's tragedy. He acknowledged the country's aviation system is undergoing "difficulties," but said it complies with all international standards.

The president has been criticized for not appearing in public since Tuesday's crash. His administration has also been criticized for failing to confront Brazil's air traffic safety problems.

Earlier Friday, Brazil's aviation authority announced several measures to reduce air traffic at Conhongas, and was studying plans to build a new airport in Sao Paulo.

The Airbus 320 jetliner skidded off a rain-slick runway during landing, crashed into a gas station and nearby building, and burst into flames. TAM airlines, which owned and operated the jet, revised the number of people on the plane to 187 passengers and crew. Everyone on board was killed, as well as a number of people on the ground.

Initial speculation focused on the short runway at Conhongas, which aviation experts say is dangerous for large planes landing in rainy weather. But there have also been reports that one of the plane's reverse thrusters was shut off. The thruster slows the plane's speed on landing.

Brazilian prosecutors and other government officials have filed a motion with a judge to close Congonhas until aviation officials can ensure that it is safe to continue operations.

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

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