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Brazil's President da Silva to Speak About Plane Crash


Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is scheduled to deliver his first national address later Friday about a jetliner crash that killed at least 189 people on Tuesday.

Da Silva has been criticized for not speaking about the incident, and his administration has received mounting criticism for failing to confront Brazil's air traffic safety problems.

Information released Thursday indicates the Airbus 320 was traveling down the runway at Sao Paulo's Congonhas airport several times faster than other planes before it skidded off the rain-slicked runway, crashed into a gas station and burst into flames.

Investigators are considering the possibility of pilot error or mechanical failure as the cause of the crash.

Officials with Brazil's TAM airlines, which owned the jetliner, say that one of the jet's two thrust reversers had been deactivated days earlier. Thrust reversers are used as a braking mechanism during landings, but TAM says the plane was still safe to fly in its condition.

Initial reports focused on the runway, which aviation experts say is too short for large planes in rainy weather. The runway was resurfaced last month, but workers have yet to build grooves into it to allow water drainage.

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 and AP.