Brazil in mourning after plane crash

July 18, 2007 at 11:43 PM
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SAO PAULO, July 18 (UPI) -- The pilot of a Brazilian airliner that crashed upon landing killing everyone on board was warned by air traffic controllers the runway was slippery.

Leading Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo reported online Wednesday that the tower control at Congonhas airport warned TAM Flight 3054 the runway was "wet" and "slippery."

The late Tuesday crash of Brazilian airline TAM killed is believed to have killed at least 176, though the number of dead could reach 200, said some officials, making it the deadliest crash in the country's history.

So far, the identities of 158 victims have been verified.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva declared Wednesday the country would observe three days of mourning following a deadly airplane crash.

The president's office wouldn't speculate what caused the crash, however, O Globo TV reported Wednesday.

The U.S. National Transportation and Safety Board has sent investigators to Sao Paulo to look into the cause of the crash.

A pilot told local media Wednesday that runways at Brazil's Congonhas airport are unsafe and led to the crash.

The Airbus A320 was flying from Porto Alegre in southern Brazil with 170 passengers and six crew members aboard. An undetermined number of casualties on the ground were also reported.

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