Accessibility links

Breaking News

Search Continues for Brazil Plane Crash Victims

Brazilian rescue workers are continuing to search for victims of a plane crash at the main airport in the city of Sao Paulo. In Miami, Brian Wagner reports that officials say nearly 190 people died when the plane overshot the runway while trying to land and crashed into neighboring buildings.

Rescue workers have been struggling to locate bodies in the smoldering wreckage of the plane that crashed at Brazil's busiest airport. Officials say they have recovered some 100 bodies since the incident late Tuesday, and rescue workers are continuing to search for others.

Scores of rescue workers were called to extinguish intense flames that erupted after the plane overshot the runway and crashed into a busy cargo terminal and gas station near the Congonhas airport. Officials say they believe all 186 people on the plane were killed, as well as several people on the ground.

The TAM airlines flight from the southern city of Porto Alegre was attempting to land during rainy weather when the crash occurred.

Brazil's Minister of Institutional Relations Walfrido dos Mares Guia says an investigation is under way.

He says aviation officials are expected to quickly inform the government and the Brazilian people about the causes of the crash and about safety measures that may be needed.

Witnesses say the Airbus 320 accelerated near the end of the runway, in what officials say was an apparent attempt to abort the landing and regain altitude. The plane left the runway and and flew over a busy city street, before crashing.

Aviation experts say rainy weather likely played a factor, as well as the condition of the airport, which was renovated in recent months.

Brazil's Globo news channel broadcast a recording of conversations between air traffic controllers and pilots of a different plane, who were preparing to land at the airport, also on Tuesday.

One controller told pilots to take care not to land near the start of the runway, because it was slippery.

Sao Paulo-based journalist Dan Horch says Congonhas airport, which serves as a key hub in Brazil's largest city, has raised concerns in the past.

"It is well known at least here in Brazil, that that airport is dangerous in the rain," said Horch. "And they regularly close down that runway."

Brazil's airline industry has been crippled by air traffic controller strikes in recent months, which have caused massive flight delays and cancellations.

Aviation officials also are working to rebuild confidence in air travel after a crash last September, when a plane carrying 154 people went down after a mid-air collision.