Jet Crashes, Explodes in Brazil

Airbus skids off runway, reviving safety scandal
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2007 10:27 PM CDT
Firefighters try to extinguish a fire at the site where a TAM airlines commercial jet crashed in Sao Paulo, Tuesday, July 17, 2007. The plane with as many as 170 people aboard crashed and burst into flames...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A plane with up to 178 passengers and crew skidded off a Brazilian runway in heavy rain, careered across a traffic-snarled road, slammed into a gas station and exploded in a huge ball of fire. The accident happened as a Tam Airlines Airbus was landing in Sao Paolo after a flight from Porto Alegre last night.

"I saw a huge ball of fire, and then I smelled the stench of kerosene and sulfur," said a witness. The airport's runway has been criticized as too short —just one of a host of problems besetting Brazil's airline industry. In February a judge closed the airport to large jets but the ban was later lifted.