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No survivors in Brazilian plane crash

india Updated: Oct 01, 2006 11:33 IST
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Brazilian authorities said a plane crash in northern Brazil killed all 155 people on board, quashing any hope of finding survivors in the country's worst ever air disaster.

Rescuers, who had been working since parts of the wreckage were discovered early on Saturday in a remote, heavily forested area of the Amazon, believed there was no more chance of finding survivors, said chief of the airport authority Infraero, Major Jose Carlos Pereira on Saturday.

The Boeing 737-800 of the Brazilian airline Gol disappeared from air traffic radar late Friday over the heavily forested northern state of Para, following an apparent mid-air collision with a smaller twin-engine plane, according to the Brazilian Air Force.

The US pilot of the smaller Embraer Legacy plane managed to make an emergency landing at a military landing site in Para.

Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva called for three days of mourning on Saturday.

Parts of the wreckage were found Saturday near a manor house in the Peixoto de Azevedo district of the heavily-forested northern state of Mato Grosso, about 18 hours after it first disappeared from radar screens.

"The plane has been found, many destroyed parts have been found," Pereira said.

Airspace above the site of the accident was closed to traffic as rescue and recovery efforts continued in the remote region.

Pereira called the mid-air collision "inexplicable" as both planes were top-of-the-line makes and included anti-collision warning systems.

A full investigation into the cause of the accident would take about three months, given the difficulty of reaching the crash site, Pereira said.

The plane was en route from Manaus in the state of Amazonas to the national capital Brasilia, where it was scheduled for landing at 6.10 pm (2110 GMT) on Friday.

Foreigners were among the Gol flight's 149 passengers and six-crew members, according to reports.

Five air force planes searched for several hours without success over the area immediately after the flight went missing in Para state airspace.

On Saturday, a total of eight planes and five helicopters took part in the search and rescue efforts along with emergency services and medical teams.

The worst previous aviation accident in Brazil was in June 1982, when a Boeing-727 of the Vasp airline crashed into a mountain in the northeastern state of Ceara, killing all 137 people on board.

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