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Plane Crash in Brazil Kills All 19 Aboard

The airliner went down Friday night. Rough terrain slowed rescuers in reaching the site.

April 02, 2006|From Times Wire Services

RIO DE JANEIRO — A Brazilian plane crashed into a mountainside and exploded, killing all 19 people on board, rescue services and the airline said Saturday.

The TEAM airline said two crew members and 17 passengers died in the Friday night crash of the twin-engine LET 410 near Saquarema city, about 60 miles east of Rio de Janiero. The plane was en route from the oil town of Macae to Rio de Janeiro.

Emergency workers Saturday recovered the flight data recorder and all 19 bodies. Only four people had been identified by Saturday night, said Roger Ancillotti, the morgue director.

"Most bodies are beyond recognition," he said.

Carlos Alberto de Carvalho, secretary of Rio state's Civil Defense Department, said, "We will probably need to conduct DNA exams to identify them."

The dead included employees of the construction company Hochtief, which is building an administrative complex for the state-run energy company Petrobras in Macae, TEAM official David Faria said. They were heading home for the weekend.

The plane left Macae, the base for offshore oil operations in Rio de Janeiro state, for the 40-minute flight to Rio de Janeiro city, about 100 miles to the southwest. Contact was lost with the plane about 20 minutes after takeoff, Faria said.

"Local residents heard the noise of the airplane, then it collided with a mountain," he said.

A fire brigade official in Saquarema said the plane had gone down in a mountainous region between Saquarema and Rio Bonito.

"I heard a weird noise, and then a very loud noise, like a bomb exploding," Jose Carlos da Costa, who lives near the crash site, told GloboNews.

The terrain made the recovery operation difficult, and rescuers did not reach the site until early Saturday.

Faria said no problems had been reported with the Czech-made plane before contact was lost.

The cause of the crash was not yet known. Authorities said that there could have been light rain and fog plane crashed.

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