By Sarah de Sainte Croix, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Yesterday evening three bodies were found amongst wreckage believed to be from the Augusta AW-139 helicopter which disappeared in Bacia de Campos, off the north coast of Rio de Janeiro state, earlier yesterday afternoon.

The Augusta AW-139 which disappeared off the North coast of Rio de Janeiro yesterday, Macae, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, News
The Augusta AW-139 which disappeared off the North coast of Rio de Janeiro yesterday, image recreation.

Search and rescue teams discovered the remains 99 meters below the sea, 100 kilometers from the coast. Recovery procedures are underway to remove the wreckage for investigation and the bodies have been transferred to a forensics department in Macaé. Rescuers are still searching for a fourth passenger.

The helicopter, which had been chartered by Petrobras from the rental company Senior, was piloted by Carioca Rommel Oliveira Garcia and co-pilot Lauro Pinto Haytzann, from São Paulo.

According to the control tower at Macaé airport, the pilot requested permission to make an emergency landing at the airport at around 5PM yesterday afternoon, before all contact was lost with the aircraft. Around fifteen minutes later, the helicopter dropped into the Atlantic Ocean.

Currently, Macaé’s airport leads the national ranking of helicopter traffic, with an average of 2,000 flights per month, commuting about 32,500 workers. This is about double the number of flights and passengers transported through São Tomé Airport, in Campos city, its nearest rival.

Read more (in Portuguese).

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