Plane in Brazil Crash Had Brake Problems

Demand for answers, heat on absent president grow
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Jul 20, 2007 6:15 PM CDT
TAM Airlines employees cry, during a religious service near the site where a TAM Airlines commercial jet crashed, in Sao Paulo, Friday, July 20, 2007. The TAM jet pulled out of an attempted landing Tuesday...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The Airbus A320 that crashed at the Sao Paulo airport Tuesday was flying with part of its braking equipment disabled, the manufacturer said today, as pressure on the government escalated. Flying without one of the aircraft's two thrust reversers is legal, but the revelation suggests the slick, short runway probably wasn't the sole cause of Brazil's deadliest air disaster.

An top aide to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was shown on TV making a gesture interpreted as celebratory when he learned of the possible mechanical element to the crash, Reuters reports. Lula has come under fire for abandoning his usual publicity-hungry ways; he hasn't appeared in public since the crash, even to visit the disaster site.