Saturday, May 23, 2009

King Air 350 Crashes in Brazil, Killing 14

From our correspondent Richard Pedicini in Brazil:


A twin-engine King Air 350 went down last night on approach to a luxury condominium's airfield in the fashionable resort area of Trancoso, Bahia, in northeast Brazil, with the deaths of all aboard, which may be as many as 15. The plane crashed and exploded at 9:13 p.m. during heavy rain in a hilly area 500 feet from the runway, which isn't equipped for instrument landings. The pilot was experienced and the plane had recently passed its annual inspection.

Among the dead are the plane's owner, investment banker Richard Ian Wright - formerly on the board of Credit Suisse First Boston Garantia - his wife and two children. His first wife was among the 99 dead in a 1996 TAM crash in São Paulo.

The exact number of victims is still uncertain due to the fire, which took firefighters two hours to control. The plane's capacity is two pilots and ten passengers; four of those aboard were children.

The Terravista Condomium is alongside a Club Med, and about 20 kilometers from the resort city of Porto Seguro and its larger airport, but can only be reached by a ferry and a dirt road.

(UPDATE: The AP is quoting Brazilian media saying that 11 people died in the crash. "Officials with Brazil's civil aviation authority and the nation's Air Force that investigates crashes did not answer telephone calls seeking comment." the AP reports.}

{UPDATE #2: Reuters, which is more reliable than the AP, has the number of dead at 14. Here's the Reuters story.}


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