TAM Linhas Aéreas plane crashes at São Paulo airport in Brazil

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Image: Milton Mansilha/Agência Brasil

On Tuesday afternoon a TAM Linhas Aéreas Airbus A320 (flight #JJ3054) crashed while attempting a landing at Congonhas airport, in São Paulo Brazil. The plane reportedly skidded off the wet runway, crossed a busy thoroughfare before careening into a fuel depot and warehouse ultimately bursting into flames.

"The plane accelerated when it reached the end of the runway and tried to take off again to avoid the road, but it crashed into the building and exploded," Junior Matos told AFP.

Authorities believe that all 180 people onboard the plane have died, and a further 15 people on the ground are feared dead as well.

Earlier, there were reports from the Brazilian media that eight people, some from the plane, and some from the gas station, were taken to the local hospital for treatment and that Brazilian congressman Júlio Redecker was also on board the plane.

Low clouds and heavy rain were reported at the time of the crash. Additionally, the runway has had a history of problems with standing water. Neither of these factors have been linked to the cause of the crash at this point.

Rodrigo Pinho, state attorney, said the authorities will thoroughly investigate "to determine the cause and to identify who was responsible".

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