Brazil Plane Bursts into Flames upon Landing. 200 Plus Feared Dead

Firemen fight TAM's plane fire An Airbus A320 from Brazilian TAM airline caught fire after landing in the airport of Congonhas in the south side of São Paulo city. The plane, carrying 176 people aboard – 167 passengers and nine crew members – was coming from Porto Alegre, in the south of the country.

The aircraft skidded off a runaway, crossed a busy avenue and collided against a warehouse and a gas station, bursting into flames. AT least 13 fire victims were taken to nearby hospitals.

Information is sketchy and it is still not known the number of people injured and how many people may have died. According to the Fire Department, at least three people had already died when they arrived in the hospital.

São Paulo Fire Department chief, colonel Manuel Antonio da Silva Araújo believes there is no survivors in the plane and according to him several people were also killed in the neighboring buildings and streets hit by the plane: "We will have 200 dead." he told São Paulo mayor Gilberto Kassab.

The accident happened at about 6:45 pm and  Congonhas has been closed to all outbound and inbound flights. All car traffic was blocked in two main arteries in the area: Washington Luí­s Avenue and 23 de Maio Avenue, a multilane expressway that links downtown to the south side of São Paulo.

Tam's Communiqué
"Tam's Airbus A320 aircraft, flight JJ 3054, that left Porto Alegre, at 5:16 pm, bound to the Congonhas Airport (São Paulo), suffered an accident when landing at the airport in São Paulo.

"At this time we are not able to establish the extension of injuries or possible lesions suffered by plane's  occupants and crew. A Tam's team is already at the place of the accident and other company's experts are on their way there. Emergency assistance is also being provided by the Fire Department, Infraero and other air travel authorities.

"Tam has already activated its Assistance Program to Victims and Relatives and made available a free 800 number in order to assist the passengers' relatives and the crew of this flight: 0800 117900.

"Any other important information will immediately be reported by Tam."

Lula Wants Answers

While inquiries on plane accidents are made by experts and may take months of analyses, according to Brazil's Social Communication Secretariat, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has sent Air Force commander, Juniti Saito, to the Congonhas Airport in order to personally analyze the TAM accident. He is expected to arrive at the crash scene tonight.

The same secretariat informed that the Brazilian president is following up close the news coming from São Paulo, in the company of several ministers including chief of staff Dilma Rousseff, Defense Minister, Valdir Pires and Minister of Institutional Relations, Walfrido Mares Guia.


  • Show Comments (14)

  • No Name

    When you come into San Francisco International, you come in right over the bay and then the runway starts practically where the bay meets the land. You could not skid off the runway into a building in a populated area its never going to happen that way. I live in SF. I have been in and out of that airport enough to know. SF international was expanded dramatically a few years back. Congonhas is a different story. I flew into there last year on my way to Rio and one of the things I keep commenting on to people was that the city (SP) was right there and went on for as far as your eye could see when you land there. I commented on it but I never really put 2 and 2 together that it was TOO close. Until now.

  • Wilson Lima

    No Name
    [quote]Congonhas is a different story. I flew into there last year on my way to Rio and one of the things I keep commenting on to people was that the city (SP) was right there and went on for as far as your eye could see when you land there. I commented on it but I never really put 2 and 2 together that it was TOO close. Until now.

    Thanks to Pires, you survived. btw, have you found the complete list of his other accomplishments? 😉

  • ch.c.

    Hmmmm……..,hmmmmmm ……
    Looks like that many Brazilians officials suddenly are telling what they knew and have hidden….for years :

    ““Congonhas operates with a very high degree of risk, much more than is acceptable,” said Brazilian Deputy Arnaldo Jardim, a member of the lower house committee that was created in May to look into the country’s air traffic system. “There’s no doubt this accident could have been avoided.”

    Another well kept Brazilian secret……until after the plane crash ????

  • Ric

    YouÀ‚´re the expert, Jay, but I think that while there was a time when the main runway at Congonhas was about 5,000 feet, itÀ‚´s now closer to about 6,350 feet. Still not much of a margin.

  • forest Brown

    not much to say on global
    if you think dallas and midway are bad
    try deigo and vegas .

    the thing in the US is the ATC will devirt a flight or shut down the runway

    try houndras for a close airport
    only place in history where a 737 took off the top of a bus at the landing end of the runway where the road crosses
    the trafic guard was in the out house .

    cloes it to large craft , only embraer jets would be able to land there

  • Jay Glenn

    Short Runways Big Jets donˢ۪t mix well
    The building that was struck in San Paulo was less than 300 Feet from the end of the runway. The runway is approximately 5000 feet long, the absolute minimum needed.
    The airport is surrounded with homes less than 300 feet from the runways.
    If the Airbus was landing in the opposite direction it would have been in a dense
    Neighborhood of homes.
    Comparing LAX, and Love field is silly they have runways over 11,000 feet with over 3,000 feet of open land at the end of runways.
    Stop pointing fingers at others, fix Brazils problems.
    Go to Google and do the math your self.

  • Ric

    All it will take is for one heavy to come down on the 91 and Palmdale will be developed as the next Los Angeles area major airport.

    Having said that, one canÀ‚´t really compare Midway and Congonhas.

  • bo

    Lula Wants Answers..
    don’t think he’s going to like the ones he’s going to get!! Wait and see how many penthouses in NY and Paris have been bought with Infraero budget money!

  • dan o

    Unfortunately we do not our ability to “see into the future”
    Dallas love field… Midway…San Francisco international and others are in heavily populated areas and will have the same type of accidents, if used long enough.
    People want to land at an airport next to their house and therefore will suffer these consequences.
    Blame the pilots if someone needs to be blamed, but the accident happened long before yesterday. The pilots just took the decision to go along with flawed procedures

  • forest Brown

    BBC had a long list of things to say about the airports in brasil

  • forest Brown

    not my fault
    but rember they can pass all the laws but cant be held responsable for there actions

  • Ric

    No, the Judiciary will have to answer for this one. It was a federal appeals court that ruled in February that regulations prohibiting jets the size of the A320 from operating out of Congonhas were incorrect.

    It will be obvious to anyone with an open mind that had the prohibition not been overturned on appeal, the accident never would have happened.

  • forest Brown

    big deal lula wants to know
    dont be quick to point the finger
    as a landing is only a controled crash any way

    the polits had better have a good laywer as congress will have them up on charges .

  • ch.c.

    Lula Wants Answers !
    He should not worry. Your pampers wearing Defense Minister Pires, is already consulting “his” aviation experts, to find out if Brazil can charge
    foreign people or foreign companies !!!!!!

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