Brazil rescuers pull bodies from plane crash
( Reuters ) - Brazilian rescue workers on Wednesday sifted through the smoldering wreckage of a jet liner that crashed at Sao Paulo airport, killing as many as 200 people in the country's second major air disaster in less than a year.
By dawn, firemen had pulled 62 charred bodies from the Airbus Brazil's history.
Three people in the building were found still alive, but died in the hospital, raising the official death toll so far to 65, Sao Paulo state public security secretariat said. Rescue teams found the plane's black box in the wreckage.
TAM Linhas Aereas Brazil's No. 1 airline, released the list of passengers overnight.
The plane, flying from Porto Alegre in southern Brazil, skidded off a wet landing strip after dark on Tuesday at Sao Paulo's Congonhas airport, shot over a bustling avenue, and slammed into a cargo terminal where people were working.
The airport is known for slippery runways and some aviation experts have questioned if the runway had been sufficiently grooved to drain water in heavy rains.
Congonhas recently repaved one of its runways after officials tried to ban wide-bodied jets from the airport on fears they could skid off its short landing strips.
"It was an announced tragedy, an accident in waiting," said Sandra Assali, president of the Brazilian association of friends and relatives of air crash victims.
The TAM accident is likely to renew pressure on President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to tackle ongoing safety concerns in Brazil's chaotic aviation system. Critics say his administration has been dragging its feet.
Lula declared three days of mourning and ordered an investigation.
"When is the next (accident) going to be," Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper said in its online edition on Wednesday.
O Globo, a leading daily newspaper, said on its front page: "New tragedy has air security in check."
Another major air accident in September of last year threw Brazil's aviation system into disarray, exposing a series of problems including a lack of air traffic controllers and equipment.
In that accident, 154 people were killed when a Brazilian Boeing 737 clipped wings with a private jet and crashed in the Amazon jungle in what was then the country's worst air disaster.
Controllers went on strike to protest poor pay and what they called spotty radar and radio coverage.
As a result flights have frequently been canceled or delayed and irate passengers have stormed airline counters in protest.
A congressional inquiry is investigating aviation security and accusations that directors at the national airports authority took bribes from contractors.