Page last updated at 09:34 GMT, Monday, 9 February 2009

Brazil river plane crash kills 24


Air authorities investigate a plane crash which killed 24 in Brazil

Twenty-four people, most from the same family, have died after the plane they were travelling in crashed into a river in the Brazilian state of Amazonas.

Four others swam to safety as the plane sank in the River Manacapuru.

The pilots had reportedly contacted air traffic control a short distance from their destination of Manaus to say they were turning back.

The twin-engined aircraft, which took off from Coari, then disappeared from radar, apparently during heavy rain.

A local fire service official was quoted by Brazil's TV Globo as saying the pilots had been trying to reach a local airport, but the plane fell short by 500m.

Four passengers who were sitting at the rear of the plane managed to open an emergency door to escape. All were said to be in a good condition.

The dead people were recovered from inside the plane. They included at least 18 members of the same family and several children, officials said.

The bad weather in the region had hampered the rescue effort in the murky waters.

Authorities are investigating the cause of the accident.

The plane involved in the accident was a twin-engine aircraft built by the Brazilian company Embraer.

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