A Let L-410UVP-E operated by Rio de Janeiro-based regional carrier TEAM crashed late last month while en route from Macaé to Rio de Janeiro, killing all 19 people on board.
The aircraft was flying to Rio’s Santos Dumont airport with 17 passengers and two flightcrew on board. It had departed Macaé at 17:19 on 31 March for the 40min flight, but some 20min after take-off, its radar trace was lost.
The aircraft’s wreckage was located at 02:30 the following morning near the top of the Serra da Pedra Bonita hills, 55km (30nm) from Santos Dumont.
The last radio contact with the aircraft was at 17:35 just after it overflew Sâo Pedro da Aldeia naval air base. Shortly afterwards, Rio de Janeiro area control centre noted the aircraft’s radar plot showed it well south of the assigned air route and below its expected cruising altitude. At the time, the area was experiencing intermittent rain showers with heavy mists shrouding most of the hills in the region, which are as high as 750m (2,460ft).
Local sources suggest that the crew appears to have deviated from its flight plan route to avoid adverse weather conditions.
JACKSON FLORES / RIO DE JANEIRO