Investigations are continuing into what caused Brazil's worst air disaster, as attention turns to the plane's landing speed and the general safety conditions of the country's busiest airport which could end being closed down.
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has declared three days of mourning following Tuesday's crash when the Airbus 320 belonging to the Brazilian airline TAM slid off the runway at Congonhas airport while landing, killing up to 200 people inside the plane and on ground.
Video footage appears to show the plane traveling along the runway at higher speed than other similar aircraft.
The runway, which has been criticized for being too short, had been recently resurfaced, but not yet properly grooved to help drain rain water. 188 bodies have been found so far.
Brazilian press reports indicate that the pilot of the TAM A320 that crashed apparently tried to abort the landing and pull up as he contacted the rain-slicked 6,365-ft. runway at Congonhas.
Instead, the aircraft slid across a multilane road and into a building that was adjacent to a fueling station, killing all 180 passengers and six crew aboard and an unknown number of people on the ground. TAM owns the building, which was used as a cargo handling center.
Initial investigation reveals that the aircraft was seen attempting to lift off following touchdown. Both the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder have been located and sent to the US for analysis.
Sao Paulo press recalls Congonhas airport was shut down 18 times during the first quarter of this year because of flooded runways. Brazilian courts addressed the safety of the airport for large aircraft in February, with an appeals court overturning an initial ruling that banned larger planes from the facility.
TAM took the A320 aircraft in January of this year and had accumulated approximately 20,000 flight hours. The plane had undergone a regular checkup last June and structural review in November 2006.
Tuesday's accident represents the worst involving an A320 and the worst in Brazilian history. Brazil's Bar Association, OAB, called for the immediate resignation of all those responsible for what it described as Brazil's "air inferno."
"What exploded in Congonhas was not only a TAM Airbus, but the whole credibility of the Brazilian air system. Rebuilding it demands the immediate ousting of all those involved", pointed out the OAB in an official release signed by the organization's president Cezar Britto.
Brazil's air industry has been in shock since last September when a Boeing 737 from the budget line Gol collided with a small private jet over the Amazon rain forest with a death toll of 154. The smaller jet somehow managed an emergency landing.
In October 1996, a Fokker 100 from TAM crashed minutes after take off from Congonhas killing 99 people.
Show Comments (2)