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Brazilian plane with 150 aboard missing

Published September 30, 2006

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - A Brazilian jetliner with more than 150 people aboard was reported missing Friday over the Amazon jungle after colliding with a smaller executive jet, aviation authorities said.

Wladamir Caze, spokesman for the Brazilian aviation authority, said Gol airlines Flight 1907 left the jungle city of Manaus and disappeared after a collision.

The Brazilian Aviation agency said the accident occurred in midair about 470 miles south of Manaus in the remote southwestern region of Para state.

News reports said the plane reportedly struck a Brazilian-made Legacy aircraft. The Legacy managed to land at the Caximbo base in southern Para, about 1,250 miles northwest of Rio, despite suffering damage.

Brazil's Defense Minister Waldir Pires told radio Bandnews that more than 150 people were on the plane.

The jetliner had been scheduled to make a stop in Brasilia before heading to Rio's Antonio Tom Jobim International Airport. Manaus is a major river city in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, about 1,700 miles northwest of Rio.

On Friday evening, Gol issued a brief statement confirming the plane's disappearance.

Brazilian airport authority president Jose Carlos Pereira said the air force was searching for the jet in a densely forested region. The Brazilian air force said in a joint statement with the federal aviation and airport authorities that five planes had been sent to search for the missing aircraft.

Pereira said in an interview with CBN radio that a local farmer reported seeing a large plane flying low.

According to the Globo news agency, about 70 family members and friends of the victims had been moved to a warehouse owned by Gol at the Brasilia airport to await news.

The flight between Manaus and Rio is popular with foreign tourists, but there was no immediate word on the nationalities of those aboard.

The Embraer Legacy 600 is a Brazilian-made executive jet that carries up to 16 passengers.

[Last modified September 30, 2006, 01:14:54]

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