Sun, May 16, 2004
Explosion suspected in crash that pulverized aircraft
The Reuters news service is
reporting that an Embraer 120 turboprop aircraft operated by Rico
Linhas Aereas has crashed into the Amazon jungle, killing all 33
pax and crew. Rescue crews have only found scattered debris, and an
explosion of some type is suspected as the cause of the crash.
The aircraft was just a couple of minutes away from landing in
the city of Manaus when it disappeaed from ATC radar. The remains
of the aircraft were found in dense jungle about nine miles from
Manaus airport on Friday in northwest Amazonas state, some 1,200
miles from the capital city of Brasilia.
Rescue crews arrived at the site but
abandoned the search for survivors when they found only scattered
human remains and small fragments of the aircraft. A spokesman for
the airline suggested that the lack of any large pieces of wreckage
indicated the plane exploded.
One of the coordinators of the rescue mission, Maj. Raimundo
Rodrigues da Silva, stated that witnessres had seen a ball of flame
near the time of the crash. "We don't know if it was in the air or
on the ground," said Rodrigues da Silva, chief of the Amazonas
State Fire Department.
The aircraft was carrying a full load of pax from Sao Paulo de
Olivenca airport to Manaus, after making stops in the towns of
Tabatinga and Tefe.
Embraer, the world's fourth-largest civil aviation manufacturer,
is sending a team to the crash site to assist authorities in the
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