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Brazilian Jet Disappears Over Amazon

A mayor says the airliner, which was carrying 155 people, went down in his town.

September 30, 2006|From Times Wire Services

SAO PAULO, Brazil — An airliner with 155 people on board disappeared over the Amazon jungle Friday, and a mayor said it had crashed on a farm in the municipality of Peixoto de Azevedo.

Other authorities did not immediately confirm the mayor's report.

Gol Flight 1907 was traveling from the Amazon city of Manaus toward the capital, Brasilia, when it disappeared from radar, the company said. It was to have continued on to Rio de Janeiro.

The head of Infraero, Brazil's airport authority, said the aircraft collided with a smaller plane, Globo news agency reported. But a later statement from federal officials said it had not been determined that the smaller plane's emergency landing was related to the larger craft's disappearance.

The smaller plane, an executive jet, landed in the town of Serra do Cachimbo after it suffered wing damage, Globo reported. Cachimbo is deep in the jungle about midway between Manaus and Brasilia.

Celso Gick, a spokesman for Infraero in the Amazon region, said the Boeing 737-800 was carrying 149 passengers and six crew members.

"From the information we have, the plane fell on Jarina farm," Mayor Valter Mioto said. "Hospitals in the region are ready to receive the injured."

At Brasilia airport, dozens of friends and relatives, many weeping, gathered to await news.

Gol is a low-cost carrier that has expanded rapidly in recent years to become Brazil's No. 2 airline and to offer flights to neighboring countries.

Manaus is home to a number of foreign-owned factories. It is also a base for tourism in the Amazon and a headquarters for several environmental groups.

CBN radio said that at least 20 passengers were employees of Yamaha Corp.

In the last major airline crash in Brazil, 33 people were killed when a plane belonging to regional carrier Rico Linhas Aereas crashed in the Amazon in May 2004.

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