Tuesday, October 03, 2006

"We've Been Hit": Survivor Recounts Brazil Air Collision


NEW YORK (Reuters) - A loud bang and ``we've been hit'' began the most
harrowing 30 minutes of Joe Sharkey's life after an executive jet and a Boeing
737 apparently clipped wings, sending the Boeing spiraling into Brazil's
rainforest.
In the country's worst airline disaster, all 155 people on the
Gol Boeing 737-800 died when it crashed into dense jungle about 600 miles
northwest of Brasilia on Friday.
Writing in The New York Times on Tuesday,
Sharkey said he was to hear many times that no one survives a midair collision.
Yet he and his four fellow passengers, and the two pilots of the ExcelAire
Embraer Legacy 600 jet, landed safely at a military base in the jungle at
Cachimbo.
Sharkey, who contributes to the newspaper's travel section, was on
an assignment for Business Jet Traveler magazine. Also on the plane were
executives of Embraer and ExcelAire.
``Hit? By what? I wondered. I lifted the
shade. The sky was clear; the sun low in the sky. The rainforest went on
forever. But there, at the end of the wing, was a jagged ridge, perhaps a foot
high, where the five-foot tall winglet was supposed to be.''

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