BRASILIA, Brazil - Rescuers recovered the first two bodies from the wreckage
of a crashed Brazilian passenger plane in the Amazon jungle on Sunday and
reported that none of the 155 people on board had survived, the Brazilian
The crash of the brand-new Boeing 737-800 belonging to low-cost airline Gol
is Brazil's worst ever aviation disaster.
The underside of the Gol airlines Boeing 737-800 that crashed
last Friday near the Jarina indigenous area in the Brazilian Amazon region
is seen in this undated aerial photograph released by the Brazilian Air
Force on October 1, 2006. Rescue workers guided by Indian trackers hacked
their way through dense Amazon jungle to reach the wreckage of Gol flight
1907 that was carrying 155 passengers and crew.
Search and rescue teams had to rappel down from helicopters while others
hacked their way through thick jungle to reach the wreckage after the plane went
down in remote Mato Grosso state on Friday.
They found the first two bodies before halting breaking their search when
night fell, an airforce statement said. The corpses were loaded onto helicopters
and taken to an airforce base.
All 149 passengers and six crew on board had been killed, the airforce said,
confirming what had been feared.
The crash appeared to have been caused by a collision between the Boeing and
a small executive jet, the aviation authority ANAC said in a statement.
The executive jet, a Legacy 600 made by Embraer and owned by Excel Airways,
made an emergency landing at Cachimbo airforce base on Friday with five
passengers on board, none of whom was hurt.
Its black box was being examined at Embraer's headquarters at Sao Jose dos
Campos in Sao Paulo state. The Gol plane's black box has not yet been found.
The head of the aviation authority, Milton Zuanazzi, said he did not know how
long the removal of bodies would take. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has
decreed three days of national mourning for the victims of the disaster.
Search planes spotted the crash site in Mato Grosso state, about 600 miles
northwest of Brasilia on Saturday. Authorities lost radar contact with the
flight on Friday afternoon as it flew from the principal Amazon city of Manaus
to the capital Brasilia.
Manaus is a busy river port and a center for environmental tourism and has a
duty-free manufacturing zone in which several foreign companies have factories.
The Gol plane had been received from Boeing on September 12 and had only 234
flight hours, the company said.
Gol, an airline modeled on U.S. no-frills carriers, has expanded rapidly
since its founding in 2001 to become Brazil's No. 2 airline and to offer flights
to neighboring countries.
The previous worst air disaster in Brazilian history was the June 1982 crash
of a Vasp flight which hit a mountain near Fortaleza in northeastern Brazil,
killing 137 people.