France, Germany offer aid for Brazil's air disaster

19th July 2007, Comments 0 comments

WASHINGTON, July 19, 2007 (AFP) - Leaders around the world expressed sorrow over Brazil's worst air disaster, as France and Germany offered experts to probe the fiery crash of an Airbus 320 in Sao Paulo that killed up to 200 people.

WASHINGTON, July 19, 2007 (AFP) - Leaders around the world expressed sorrow over Brazil's worst air disaster, as France and Germany offered experts to probe the fiery crash of an Airbus 320 in Sao Paulo that killed up to 200 people.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy offered his "deepest condolences" to the families and friends of two French passengers who perished on the TAM flight, while investigations continued to determine the fate of a third French passenger listed as missing, the president's spokesman said in Paris.

The United States on Wednesday extended condolences to the people of Brazil, with State Department spokesman Sean McCormack calling the crash a "terrible tragedy." No US citizens were listed on board the TAM flight.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was expected to call her Brazilian counterpart, Celso Amorim, to convey sympathies to the Brazilian people, he said.

Pope Benedict XVI, who visited Sao Paulo in May, sent his condolences, expressing his "spiritual closeness" to the families of the crash victims.

In Montreal, the International Air Transport Association called for "an open, vigorous and thorough investigation," and also offered to help investigate what caused the crash.

France's Bureau of Investigation and Analysis (BEA) said it was sending two of its investigators and its German counterpart, the BFU, was sending another two. Five Airbus experts also were on their way.

Shock and horror prevailed in Sao Paulo and the rest of Brazil after all 186 people on board national carrier TAM's Flight 3054 from Porto Alegre were believed to have perished, along with at least 16 people on the ground.

The plane on landing Tuesday in Sao Paulo skidded on a rain-slick, notoriously short runway out of Congonhas airport, across a road and into a warehouse, bursting into flames.

TAM President Marco Antonio Bologna told a news conference: "There is no sign of survivors."
 
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva conferred with his cabinet late Tuesday over the crash, the country's worst, and declared three days of national mourning.

Germany's President Horst Kohler sent his "deepest condolences" in a message to President Lula, extending his solidarity to the victims' families.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero wrote to Lula conveying Spain's "solidarity, affection and sympathy" with the victims' families.

Argentina's President Nestor Kirchner also contacted Lula to express sympathy "and the solidarity of the people of Argentina with the people of Brazil and the families of the victims," his spokesman said in Buenos Aires.

South African President Thabo Mbeki sent a message of condolence to Lula, saying "We share in the pain and grief that this tragedy has brought not only to the families of those who lost their loved ones but also to the entire Brazilian nation".

Venezuela and Chile also sent their condolences and expressions of fraternal solidarity with Brazil over the tragedy.

Meanwhile, in Brasilia a top lawyers association, the Orden de los Abogados de Brasil (OAB), called for all those responsible for the "airliner inferno" to resign their post.

"What exploded in Congonhas was not just the TAM airbus and almost 200 victims but the credibility of the Brazilian aviation system," OAB President Cezar Britto said in a statement.

"Fixing it demands the immediate resignation of all those implicated in the bad management of Brazil's air space," he added.

Britto called Tuesday's airline accident "a tragedy waiting to happen," echoing opposition and national media criticism that it followed months of complaints about the bad shape of Brazil's airport and air route security.

Scrutiny of Brazil's airway infrastructure heightened after the September crash of a Gol airliner with 154 people on board in the Amazon jungle after a collision with a small jet, blamed on a deficient air traffic control system.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, German news

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