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Brazil presidential candidate dies in plane crash

Brazilian Presidential Candidate Killed In Plane Crash

By STAN LEHMAN

SAO PAULO (AP) - Brazilian presidential candidate Eduardo Campos died Wednesday when the small plane that was carrying him and several campaign officials plunged into a residential neighborhood in the port city of Santos, a City Hall official there said.

All seven people aboard the plane, including a campaign photographer and cameraman, a press advisor, as well as two pilots, died in the crash, City Hall press officer Patricia Fagueiro told The Associated Press.

In a statement on her official blog, Rousseff declared three days of official mourning in honor of Campos and said she would suspend her campaign during that time. "All of Brazil is in mourning," the statement said. "We have lost a great Brazilian."

Polls show Campos, the scion of a political family from the northeastern state of Pernambuco, was running in third place, trailing far behind Rousseff and another political rival. But his Brazilian Socialist Party ticket was widely regarded as among the best-placed to challenge Rousseff and her popular Workers Party, thanks largely to his running mate, the popular former Environment Minister Marina Silva, who joined Campos after she was prevented from running herself.

Silva's press adviser said that she was on the way to Santos, but it was not immediately clear whether she would assume Campos' spot as the party's presidential candidate. Under Brazilian law, in the event of a candidate's death, the party has 10 days to decide on a substitute.

Pundits were already predicting that Campos' death could complicate the presidential race for Rousseff.

Brazilian television broadcast a continuous loop of images of the wreckage, a smoldering pit in between buildings of several stories, with emergency response officials picking through the rubble. Brazil's top broadcaster Globo ran interviews with eyewitnesses who reported the plane was already ablaze before the crash that took place at around 10 a.m. local time (9 a.m. EDT).

Aeronautical authorities said the craft, a Cessna 560XL, was attempting to land in bad weather.

It was not immediately clear whether anyone on the ground was injured in the crash, which reportedly at least partially damaged a gym, local media reports said. The plane took off from Rio de Janeiro, where Campos had appeared in a television interview on Tuesday, and was headed to the city of Guaruja, where he was to give a talk about Brazil's ports.

The country's top politicians expressed their shock and sorrow over the accident, with Vice President Michel Temer calling it a "tragedy for Brazilian politics."

"Eduardo Campos was a politician of principles and values," Temer wrote on his website. "Along with the entire country, I am shocked by this accident and by the loss for friends and family."

Eliseu Gabriel, a Sao Paulo city councilman who heads Campos' PSB in Sao Paulo, said the party has yet to make any decisions on how to move forward, saying only the campaign was "stopping" for the moment.

"The campaign was about to start, and he had a big chance of making it to the second round" of Brazil's two-round race, Gabriel said. "Eduardo Campos represented a great hope for a profound change in Brazilian politics."

As the initial shock of the crash passed, pundits began to speculate about how Campos' death would affect the Oct. 4 presidential race.

David Fleischer, a political scientist at the University of Brasilia, told the AP that Campos' death was "bad news for Brazil and very bad news for Dilma."

Should Campos' running mate Silva assume the candidacy, she would likely pull votes away from Rousseff, forcing the race to go into a second round between Rousseff and the other main candidate, Aecio Neves of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party. Silva's support of Neves in a runoff could threaten Rousseff's chances of re-election, Fleischer said.

Rousseff, the hand-picked successor of popular former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has seen her popularity flag in recent months amid popular dissatisfaction with slowing growth, high taxes and poor public services - although she remained the strongest candidate. A survey by the Datafolha polling agency released Wednesday ahead of the accident showed 8 percent of those questioned said they intended to vote for Campos, compared with 36 for Rousseff.

Campos, 49, was married and the father of five children, the youngest of whom was born in January. The heir of a political dynasty that stretched back to his grandfather, he served two terms as governor of Pernambuco state.

His brother, Antonio Campos, told Globo and other broadcasters that Campos would be buried in the family tomb in Pernambuco, where his grandfather's body lies. The grandfather, Miguel Arraes, died on the same date, August 13, nine years earlier.

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chasesea August 13 2014 at 4:28 PM

An accident? That remains to be seen.

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4 replies
Pumpkinpie August 13 2014 at 5:37 PM

ASSASINATION

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David August 13 2014 at 6:10 PM

Did they know the Clinton's. If so, add them to the long list of Clinton's associates who died under strange circumstances.

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3 replies
songbirdgray August 13 2014 at 5:54 PM

check out his opponent in the race!

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IN MY OPINION ONLY August 14 2014 at 4:27 AM

Small Cessna & Bad weather - Excellent?

Hillary Clinton needs to be on that flight instead?

She might try to run for President of Brazil then as her book sales slumped in USA and boycotted by China.

Hillary is "panhandling" her "doomed" book sales at Martha's vineyard.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
2 replies
mstoye IN MY OPINION ONLY August 14 2014 at 5:29 AM

Here comes another TP lemming...just can't seem to get a good, rational, sane candidate so just tear down the opponent!

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dgoffnspector IN MY OPINION ONLY August 14 2014 at 9:41 AM

So cranky this morning. Did mommy not fix your bottle, before heading off to work?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
gwhjelm August 14 2014 at 12:03 AM

This comment is in the mean spirited comments that frequent this news area. Governor Perry caused the crash! No apologies, sources, or any feeling of contrition about blatantly charging him. Just another fine day in America, where hatred is the name of the day, and that is everyday!

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k9minds4recovery August 13 2014 at 11:13 PM

For all of you US citizens that carry the load of SLAVERY.

Brazil was the largest importer of Trans Atlantic African Slaves at 35% while the 13 British Colonies and later the United States accounted for less than 5%. In 2001 Brazil still had African-Brazilians as Slaves on Brazilian Plantations.

Where do you think the Blacks in Haiti came from and the Cuban baseball players, Jamaicans, etc. etc. You Americans are so ignorant.

I’m just a Russian immigrant; waited in line, background checks, speak four languages, English fluently and possessed a skillset in demand in the US (it took 1 and ½ years for “legal Documents”).

Russia didn't have African slaves because all the people were slaves. The US bought Alaska so the Czar could live very well and keep the population as slaves. And you wonder why Russians hate you.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
2 replies
dgoffnspector k9minds4recovery August 14 2014 at 9:36 AM

If you hate America, leave. That skillset doesn't have to include being a brain sugeon, in order to figure that out.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
uriahheep7275 k9minds4recovery August 14 2014 at 11:13 AM

Slavery was a stupid thing. It destroyed this country!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
jurmik August 13 2014 at 6:08 PM

Condolences are pouring in from the world, only ugly, ignorant notes from the USA, how typical.

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1 reply
englishfleck jurmik August 14 2014 at 6:17 AM

Americans can be harsh but they are also very aware of the rampant political corruption in Brazil which you might be wise to open your eyes to.

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1 reply
dgoffnspector englishfleck August 14 2014 at 9:38 AM

BS Most of the asshats who post their nonsense on these threads, probably couldn't find Brazil on a map, possibly not even the continent where it's located.

Flag 0 rate up
susandanielspi August 13 2014 at 11:17 PM

Well, that's one way not to lose and election.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Velocity105 August 15 2014 at 12:28 AM

How sad until you find out he was a socialist.

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