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Thursday, 14 August 2014

Brazilians mourn presidential candidate, Eduardo Campos

Brazil is in mourning after the death of presidential candidate Eduardo Campos, 49, who was killed in a plane crash on Wednesday.

President Dilma Rousseff declared three days of mourning and halted all campaign activities for the presidential elections on 5 October.

Campos, of the Brazilian Socialist Party, had been running third in opinion polls.

It is not yet clear who will replace him as presidential candidate.

Campos was on his way from Rio de Janeiro to the city of Guaruja when the Cessna 560XL he was travelling in went down into a residential area of the port city of Santos.

The Brazilian Air Force said the plane crashed as it was preparing to land, adding that bad weather may have been to blame for the the accident.

Aldo Galeano, the police officer leading the investigation in to the crash, said that air traffic control had asked the pilot not to land because of high winds and rain.

He said the plane had flown a loop over the nearby city of Santos waiting for conditions to improve when it ran into trouble.

“We think the pilot looked for a place to make an emergency landing, an isolated area, near a swimming pool, but the plane exploded,” Galeano said.

Experts are trying to determine if the Cessna exploded on impact or already in the air.

Campos, four members of his campaign team and the two pilots all died in the explosion.

Three homes were set alight by the impact and a thick plume of smoke rose from the area. The plane narrowly missed a gym and a kindergarten.

Miriam Rodrigues Martinez, who lives near the crash site, told local media the plane “looked like a ball of fire falling from the sky”.

“At first I thought it was a meteorite, not a plane,” she said.

Forensic experts are at the scene and police are trying to locate the plane’s flight data recorders.

President Dilma Rousseff, who is leading in the polls ahead of October’s election, said the country was reeling from the death of “a promising young politician”.

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