From: Reuters
Published May 20, 2008 05:08 PM

Fire in Sao Paulo causes brief plane crash scare

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - A big fire in a commercial building in Brazil's financial capital of Sao Paulo on Tuesday prompted reports of a plane crash that were swiftly denied.

Brazilian television network Globonews interrupted its programming with live footage of dark smoke billowing over skyscrapers near the domestic airport Congonhas, the site of Brazil's worst plane crash ever in July 2007.

The initial Globonews report said a Pantanal Linhas Aereas plane had gone down near the airport. But Pantanal quickly denied that one of its planes had crashed and Globonews retracted its report, saying the smoke was caused by a fire in a mattress store. It did not say whether anyone was injured in the fire.

Brazil's air travel system has been plagued by delays and safety concerns for much of the past two years.

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In the July 2007 crash, a TAM airlines Airbus skidded off the runway on landing and slammed into a building, killing a total of 199 passengers, crew and people on the ground.

In September 2006, a Gol Airlines passenger jet crashed in the Amazon jungle after it and a small private plane collided. All 154 people on board perished.

(Reporting by Todd Benson, Editing by Kieran Murray)

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