By Richard Mann, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A single-engine airplane crashed yesterday afternoon on a street in Belo Horizonte. According to the Military Fire Brigade of Minas Gerais, the aircraft crashed on Minerva Street in the Caiçara neighborhood in the northwest region of the capital.
So far, one fatality has been confirmed. Firefighters did not report whether there were other people on the plane. There is still no information on the identity of the victim or who owned the plane. The crash occurred shortly after 3:20 pm; after colliding with the ground, the aircraft was destroyed by fire.
The French Socata ST-10 Diplomate aircraft has seating for four passengers; however, only the flight instructor was inside at the time of the accident. The plane hit a pole, part of which was dragged spinning across Minerva Street. According to a witness, the plane veered away from a building before crashing.
According to the coordinator of the 3rd Battalion of the Fire Department, Lieutenant Arthur Henrique Santos Ferreira, the plane took off from Carlos Prates airport.
The local power company, Companhia Energética de Minas Gerais, was forced to shut off power in the area because of damage to high-voltage cables.
“I just heard the noise, I saw the people shouting, and I went down, and the police and the other services arrived fast,” a witness said.
For Maria Elisa, who lives on Rua Francisco Bicalho, parallel to Minerva, the crash of the plane was a disaster waiting to happen. “I had already contacted the air club, which is here in Carlos Prates, and Infraero.” The planes pass very low, and they are level flights that cause concern to those who live nearby.
The situation would be worse had the plane crashed at the substation of Companhia Energética de Minas Gerais (Cemig) located just a few blocks from the crash site. “Imagine the size of the tragedy if it had happened there,” said César Morais, a resident of Caiçara. “There should not be a piloting school near residences, but now there is helicopter training as well, which is even more dangerous.”