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Brazil plane crash kills 16: rescue officials

A small plane crashed early Wednesday near the Brazilian city of Recife after reporting an onboard emergency, killing all of its 16 occupants, rescue officials said.

world Updated: Jul 14, 2011 17:52 IST

A small plane crashed early Wednesday near the Brazilian city of Recife after reporting an onboard emergency, killing all of its 16 occupants, rescue officials said.

The Noar Linhas Aereas plane, which was bound for Natal, the capital and main city of Rio Grande do Norte in northeastern Brazil, crashed within 10 minutes of taking off, authorities said.

"The information from our crews working at the site of the accident is that there are no survivors," a spokesman for the Recife fire department said.

An aviation administration official said that the crash "was a total human and material loss."

President Dilma Rousseff voiced sadness at the tragedy, and in a statement expressed "solidarity with the friends and family of the passengers and crew at this painful time."

The twin engine aircraft was completely charred in the disaster, which left a wide area of denuded terrain where a fire had ignited the crash site, officials said.

The aviation official said that the pilot had reported an "emergency situation" aboard the aircraft to air traffic controllers and said he was going to attempt an emergency landing shortly before crashing about 100 meters (300 feet) short of the beach that was his intended goal.

"We still don't know what happened on the plane, but the pilot managed to avoid a tragedy of enormous proportions, because the plane narrowly avoided a densely populated area," a fire official told local television.

The plane was carrying 14 passengers and two crew members including the pilot when it went down.

In the aftermath of the accident, all Noar airline flight were suspended Wednesday by Brazil's aviation authorities.