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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 July 2007, 15:00 GMT 16:00 UK
Brazil jet 'too fast on runway'
Still from video showing plane landing
The video footage shows the final moments of the flight

Video footage of the plane that crashed in Brazil on Tuesday, killing about 200 people, appears to show it moving down the runway at higher than normal speed.

The Tam Airbus 320 overshot the runway after landing at Congonhas airport in Sao Paulo, and crashed into a building before bursting into flames.

All 186 people on board died as well as a number of people on the ground.

Efforts are continuing to recover the bodies from the crash site, while officials investigate possible causes.

Tuesday's crash occurred in wet conditions, on a runway often criticised as being too short.

The new video footage shows some of the final moments of the Tam Airlines flight from the southern city of Porto Alegre and another similar plane which had arrived earlier.

It shows the first aircraft apparently taking 11 seconds to travel along the runway, while the plane that crashed covers the same distance in three.

Passenger relatives await news in Porto Alegre on 18 July 2007
Most of the passengers on board the plane were Brazilian

As the Airbus 320 jet touches down at Congonhas airport, it appears to continue speeding along the runway without slowing, before disappearing out of view. The flash of an explosion can be seen a short time later.

Marco Antonio Bologna, the chairman of Tam Airlines (Tam Linhas Aereas SA), said that the aircraft, which was only added to the Tam fleet in December and was serviced in June, had been in perfect condition and was flown by experienced pilots.

'Visual checks'

In February, amid fears that the airport was too close to residential areas and that its runways were too short, a federal court briefly banned three types of large jet - the Fokker 100, Boeing 737-800 and Boeing 737-700 - from using the airport.

The decision was overturned, but the runway was ordered to be resurfaced - which happened in June.

But Brazil's airport authority said work to groove the runway, to help clear rain water, was not scheduled to take place until 28 July, after the concrete had settled.

The plane accelerated when it reached the end of the runway and tried to take off again to avoid the road
Witness Junior Matos

On Wednesday, Armando Schneider Filho, director of engineering for the nation's airport authority Infraero, said it met international safety standards.

"I can confirm that there was no possibility of skidding on this runway. Twenty minutes before the accident, Infraero performed a visual inspection of the runway and detected no problems. It was wet, but there was no accumulation of water," he told a news conference.

On Monday, two other, smaller planes skidded off the airport's runway. Opposition politicians have attacked the decision to use the runway before the grooving work was done.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has ordered an investigation into whether the runway was opened too early.

Workers missing

According to Brazil's TV Globo, the Brazilian air force, which oversees the country's air traffic control system, believes the new footage shows the plane was travelling at excessive speed.

Launched: 1988
In operation: 1,700
Operators include: British Airways; Air France; Air Canada; China Eastern Airlines; Iberia; United Airlines; Jet Blue Airways

As the plane careered towards the busy road nearby, one theory is that the pilot tried to take off again. The aircraft crossed the road and ploughed into a Tam Airlines building.

Some 180 bodies have been recovered from the burnt wreckage, says fire chief Nilton Miranda, adding another 20 bodies are expected to be found.

Mr Bologna said three workers in the Tam building had also been killed and five others were missing.

Most of the passengers and crew on board the flight were Brazilian, including an opposition congressman, Julio Redecker.

There were also two French nationals, an Argentine and a Peruvian.

The bodies of five victims killed on the ground have already been released from the mortuary, and the funeral of at least one victim is taking place on Thursday.

A mass for the victims was held in Porto Alegre on Wednesday night.

President Lula declared three days of national mourning for the victims of what is Brazil's worst air disaster.


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