SAO PAULO, Brazil - Rescue crews pulled dozens of bodies Wednesday from a Brazilian airliner that crashed and burst into flames at Brazil's busiest airport, as the number of people feared dead rose to 195.A terrible tragedy. Say a prayer for the dead and their families.
The TAM airlines Airbus-320 was en route to Sao Paulo from Porto Alegre in southern Brazil on Tuesday when it skidded on the rain-slicked runway in Sao Paulo, barreled across a busy road and slammed into a gas station and TAM building.
On Wednesday, the airline raised the number of people aboard the plane by four to 180 and officials said the chance of anyone surviving was near zero. Sixty-six badly charred bodies had been pulled from the wreckage by Wednesday, Globo News television reported.
The runway at Sao Paulo's Congonhas airport has been repeatedly criticized for being too short, and two planes slipped off it in rainy weather just a day earlier, though no one was injured in either incident.Flying in the third world can be an adventure(Though considering the growing political and economic might of Brazil, is that country third world anymore). I have a few tales to tell from my days in the Philippines. Mostly from flights between the cities of Manila, Tacloban and Cebu. Ever been in an airport where bees were swarming through the check-in area? I have.
Pilots sometimes refer to Congonhas as the "aircraft carrier." They say they are instructed to touch down in the first 1,000 feet of runway, or do a go-around if they overshoot the immediate landing zone.
The Congonhas runway is 6,365 feet, compared with a 7,003-foot runway at New York's LaGuardia Airport, which accommodates similar planes, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
The crash highlights the country's increasing aviation woes. In September, a Gol Airlines Boeing 737 collided with an executive jet over the Amazon rainforest, causing the passenger jet to crash, killing 154 people.If that's true, people in Brazil should be calling for the heads of those judges. Two hundred dead passengers are worth more than any sum of money, especially to their families and loved ones. You can't bring people back from the day.
Since then, there have been questions about the country's underfunded air traffic control systems, deficient radar system and the airlines' ability to cope with a surge in travelers. Controllers — concerned about being made scapegoats — have engaged in strikes and work slowdowns to raise safety concerns, causing lengthy delays and cancelations.
The accident happened during heavy rains, and critics have said for years that such an accident was possible at the airport because its runway is too short for large planes landing in rainy weather.
In 1996, a TAM airlines Fokker-100 skidded off the runway at Congonhas airport and down a street before erupting in a fireball. The crash killed all 96 people on board and three on the ground.
A federal court in February of this year briefly banned takeoffs and landings of three types of large jets at the airport because of safety concerns at Congonhas airport, which handles huge volumes of flights for the massive domestic Brazilian air travel market.
But an appeals court overruled the ban, saying it was too harsh because it would have severe economic ramifications, and that there were not enough safety concerns to prevent the planes from landing and taking off the airport.
The Sao Paulo air disaster in all probability could have been avoided. Then again, that can be said about almost all airplane crashes.
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