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Tue, Oct 07, 2003

Sad Search Over: Brazilian Congressman's Body Found

Martinez Killed In Weekend Crash

The bodies of a Brazilian congressman and three other men were found Sunday, one day after their airplane simply disappeared. Their single-engine aircraft crashed in dense jungle, just 15 minutes after take-off.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said he felt "deep sorrow" at the death of Rep. Jose Carlos Martinez, who was serving his fourth term as a Brazilian legislator. The loss was all the more personal for Lula de Silva -- Martinez was also president of the Brazilian Labor Party, part of the governing coalition.

The still-unidentified type aircraft had taken off Saturday from an airport about 220 miles southwest of Sao Paulo. About 15 minutes afterwards, radar controllers said it simply vanished from their screens.

Defense Minister Jose Viegas said the pilot on board had not filed a flight plan of any type. "This episode should serve as an example so that no one repeats the mistakes so often made by private pilots, of going out adventurously, without a flight plan or any type of coordination," Viegas said in an interview with GloboNews television.

The Brazilian Air Force is handling the investigation. A determination on the cause of the crash should be made within about 90 days, according to Air Force officials.

FMI: www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/br.html

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