A flurry of recent jet engine failures in South America has led to two catastrophic crashes during the past two weeks.
On Monday, October 21, 1996, the Fuerzas Aereas Brasileira (Brazilian Air Force) was testing its new AMX jet interceptor north of Manaus on the Amazon River when the plane's engine mysteriously failed. The FAB's new jets were built in Italy with funding from the International Monetary Fund for use in drug interdiction missions. The AMX jet mysteriously lost all power while flying over the remote jungle of the Serra Tulu-Tuloi, near Brazil's border with Venezuela and Colombia. According to an FAB spokesman, "The plane totally lost its functionality in all of its instrumentation."
Fortunately, the pilot managed to restart the engine and landed safely at Manaus. A second AMX flight over the Rio Cuieiras in the same area produced the exact same result. The FAB is at a loss to explain these incidents.
The next night, Tuesday, October 22, a Boeing 707-320C cargo jet took off from Manta, Ecuador, a coastal city 290 miles (464 kilometers) from Quito. Bound for Miami, the jet suddenly lost power during its climbout, descended rapidly, clipped a church tower and crashed, setting ablaze the entire neighborhood.
The crash killed 30 people, including the plane's three-person crew and a priest at the church. Eighty burn victims were hospitalized. The fire destroyed over a hundred homes.
"It was a nightmare," Manta resident Vicente Abad said, "The barrio looks as if it had been bombed. Everything is in ruins. It was terrible to have to listen to the screams of the injured. The flames did not let anyone get close enough to help them." (See AP story for October 23, 1996) (Editor's Note: Manta is 140 kilometers (84 miles) north of Ecuador's air and naval base at Salinas, the site of a UFO flap back in June.)
The morning of October 31, 1996, a Fokker 100 aircraft owned by TAM Regional Airlines took off from Congonhas Airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil. TAM Flight 402 was bound for Rio de Janeiro. Five minutes into the flight, the Fokker's engines quit, and the plane spun out of control. The plane crashed in a Sao Paulo suburb, clipping an apartment house and barely missing a primary school where 200 children had just begun their morning classes. All 90 passengers and the six crew members of Flight 402 were killed.
According to the story in USA Today (November 1), "It sheared off several roofs before slamming into a house. Behind it was a fiery path of destruction as fuel leaking from the plane set streets, cars and homes ablaze." One resident, Jose Cardoso, saw "a river of fuel on fire flowing down the street," destroying dozens of cars and houses. (Editor's Note: Aircraft engine failures often occur in areas with high UFO activity such as Brazil's Sao Paulo state. Similar cases occurred in Gary, Indiana on April 4, 1970 and in Jackson, Michigan on February 16, 1972.)
Original file name: .CNI - S.America Jet Failures
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