Brazilian presidential candidate Eduardo Campos has reportedly been killed in the crash of his private jet in Sao Paulo.
Campos, a socialist who has been running third in the polls ahead of the October presidential election in the country, was on board a jet that crashed into a gymnasium in a residential area, breaking into pieces and sparking a large fire, Globo reported on its news TV channel and websites on Wednesday.
According to the BBC, the politician’s wife, Reneta, and son, Miguel, were also on the plane. There were conflicting reports about whether his running mate, Marina Silva, was also involved.
Officials said there were multiple fatalities in the crash.
“There are fatalities but we still do not have a number confirmed,” a Sao Paulo state police spokeswoman told AFP, saying a fire had hampered access the area.
Brazil candidate ‘killed in plane crash’
Santos firefighters said there were at least 10 people injured, according to online news portal G1.
Police had initially said the aircraft was a helicopter, but the Brazilian air force said it was in fact a private plane, a Cessna 560XL, which is a medium-sized jet.
The plane took off from Rio de Janeiro’s Santos Dumont airport and was headed to Guaruja airport on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, said 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 in the residential area.
Flames could be seen in the windows of some houses.
Local restaurant owner Thiago Fernandes said the impact had shattered the front windows at his business.
“I was working in the restaurant and there was a very loud boom, like nothing I had ever heard. All the front windows broke. Later they told us that an aircraft had fallen on the pool of a gymnasium a block away,” he told Globo News TV.