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.