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Rescuers have so far recovered 181 bodies at the Sao Paolo airport, where an Airbus A-320 liner crashed on landing Wednesday
Rescuers have so far recovered 181 bodies at the Sao Paolo airport, where an Airbus A-320 liner crashed on landing Wednesday, firefighters said Thursday. The passenger plane, owned by Brazil's largest airline, TAM Linhas Aereas, skidded off a wet runway at Sao Paolo's Congonhas Airport and crashed into a gas station and a cargo terminal, bursting into flames. Rescuers said the death toll could exceed 200 people and include airport staff who happened to be in the vicinity when the accident, the country's second major air disaster in 10 months, occurred. Sao Paolo state Governor Jose Serra said Wednesday, citing firefighters, that all 176 on board were almost certainly dead, as the temperature had reached 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,832 F() inside the aircraft. Experts are looking into several possible causes of the accident, among them the poor condition of the runway, which has not been fitted out with rainwater drainage systems after repairs, a "human factor," and technical problems with the aircraft. Eyewitnesses and surveillance video show that the Airbus began landing in normally, but suddenly increased speed. Rescuers said the collision was very powerful. TAM has published a list of 162 passengers, six crew and 18 company personnel who were on board the plane during the crash. The company also published a list of airport staff who were inside the terminal when the liner ran into it and are considered missing. President Louis Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has cancelled his trips scheduled for Thursday and Friday to personally monitor the investigation, the presidential press service said. Brazil's last air tragedy occurred last September, when a Boeing 737 crashed into the Amazon rainforest, killing over 150 on board.
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