BRASILIA: Fourteen people on a small jet died when the plane crashed in Brazil’s northern Amazonas state.
The aircraft’s pilot approached the tourist town of Barcelos in heavy rain with low visibility, and appeared to inadvertently start landing halfway down the runway, Amazonas state security secretary Vinicius Almeida told a news conference.
The plane ran out of the landing strip and crashed, he added. Media reports showed the white jet belly-down on a dirt track, its front end crumpled into dense vegetation.
“I deeply regret the death of the 12 passengers and two crew members who were victims of the plane crash in Barcelos on Saturday,” said Wilson Lima, governor of Amazonas state, on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“Our teams have been working from the outset to provide the necessary support. My sympathy and prayers go out to their families and friends.”
In an interview with O Globo newspaper, Lima said the bodies were removed from the aircraft and all the victims were Brazilian tourists.
The region faces heavy rainfall and the most likely cause of the accident was an error in the route taken at the time of landing, Lima added.
The Manaus Aerotaxi airline issued a statement confirming there had been an accident and said it is investigating. It offered no details.
“We count on respect for the privacy of those involved at this difficult time and will be available to provide all necessary information and updates as the investigation progresses,” it said.
The Brazilian Air Force said in a statement investigators were called in to find the reasons for the crash of the small aircraft, an Embraer Bandeirante with the registration PT-SOG.
Located on the Rio Negro, an Amazon tributary, Barcelos borders several national parks and other protected areas. It is the peak season for fishing in the region, a popular spot for catching tropical river species.
Covered mostly in dense rainforests, Amazonas is an adventure travel destination. It receives hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, according to Amazonastur, the state tourism company.