Rescue officials say the death toll will likely rise in the crash of a cargo jet that smashed through a crowded slum area and exploded in a fireball, killing at least 20 people and injuring more than 200.
The Transbrasil Airlines Boeing 707 plowed into the Jardim Ipanema slum Tuesday about 11/2 miles from the runway of Sao Paulo's Guarulhos International Airport, destroying dozens of homes.The crash killed all three people aboard the plane and at least 17 on the ground, officials said. Authorities earlier had reported 21 dead, but that figure included a boy who was presumed dead but later turned up at a Sao Paulo hospital suffering from severe injuries.
A Fire Department spokesman said the death toll would likely rise as rescuers sift through the wreckage of dozens of houses destroyed in the fiery crash. The search for more victims was suspended at nightfall Tuesday, and officials held little hope that additional survivors would be found.
Firemen and government officials reported more than 200 people were hurt, many of them suffering severe burns.
About 80 wood and brick shanties were either damaged or destroyed in the crash, officials said. Rescue operations were hampered because of fire and a power outage, as the crash severed electrical cables in the area.
Witnesses said the jetliner was approaching the airport at low altitude shortly before noon when one of its engines apparently grazed a building. The plane then veered left and plunged into the Jardim Ipanema neighborhood, flattening homes and buildings before exploding in a ball of flames.
Among the dead was a pregnant woman, Elisa Cunha, 23. Doctors delivered her baby, but the infant died shortly after birth, a spokesman at Tatuape Hospital said.