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Brazilian presidential candidate dies after plane crashes in residential area

“All of Brazil is in mourning. We lost a great Brazilian today”.

Eduardo Campos pictured last week.
Eduardo Campos pictured last week.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

BRAZILIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE Eduardo Campos, a contender to unseat President Dilma Rousseff in October, has died after his jet crashed into a residential area.

Campos, a socialist who has been running third in the polls, was on board a jet that crashed into a gym and houses in the city of Santos, breaking into pieces and sparking a large fire.

All seven people aboard the plane died, the Brazilian air force told the online and television news network Globo.

Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff has declared three days of national mourning and suspended her campaign after the crash.

“All of Brazil is in mourning,” she said in a statement.

We lost a great Brazilian today, Eduardo Campos. We lost a great comrade.

The crash

Campos’s plane was en route from Rio de Janeiro’s Santos Dumont airport to Guaruja airport outside Sao Paulo when it hit bad weather, according to aviation authority spokesman Pedro Luis Farcic.

“As it was preparing to land, the plane fell due to bad weather. Air traffic control then lost contact with the aircraft,” he said.

TV images showed the destroyed plane amid piles of burning rubble, with a large column of smoke rising from several houses.

Flames could be seen in the windows of some houses.

The air force said the plane was a private Cessna 560XL, a medium-sized jet.

Officials said multiple people had been killed in the crash, but were unable to give a death toll because the fire was hampering access to the area.

Campos, the 49-year-old former governor of the northeastern state of Pernambuco, had eight percent support from likely voters according to a survey last month by polling firm Ibope ahead of the October 5 first-round election.

Rousseff, who is standing for a second four-year term, led the race with 38% support, while social democrat Aecio Neves had 22%, the poll found.

- © AFP, 2014

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