Brazil presidential candidate dies in plane crash

Brazilian presidential candidate Eduardo Campos dies in plane crash in port city of Santos

Eduardo Campos, a candidate for president in Brazil's October elections, died Wednesday when a Cessna jet carrying him and his closest aides crashed in Santos, a port city in Sao Paulo state. He was 49.

Campos' wife, his five children and his vice presidential candidate, Marina Silva, had decided to take commercial flights and were not with him on the Cessna. The six other people on board the downed aircraft were feared dead.



An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Campos was governor of Pernambuco state between 2006 and 2010 and then served as a minister under President Dilma Rousseff until last year. He was a minister in the government of former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and served two terms as governor until early this year.


Campos, an economist, served two terms as governor of Pernambuco state Brazil before stepping down early this year to run for president as the Socialist Party candidate with a pro-business agenda. Previously he served as the minister of science and technology in the government of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Campos was flying to Santos from Rio de Janeiro, where he was interviewed by TV Globo on Tuesday night, to meet with businesspeople.

Shortly after 10 a.m., television stations began showing images of a crash among residential buildings in Santos. The plane was destroyed.

The Brazilian air force released a statement about the crash without mentioning names of passengers. The confirmation that Campos was dead came before 1 p.m.

The crash is being investigated by the federal police.

In mid-July, a Datafolha poll placed Campos in third place among presidential candidates, with support from 8% of the respondents.  President Dilma Rousseff had 36% and challenger Aecio Neves 20%.

The Socialist Party has 10 days to decide who will succeed him in the campaign. Silva, the party's vice presidential candidate, skimmed disillusioned voters from both leading candidates when she ran for president in 2010. In April, polls showed her supported by 27% of respondents, ahead of Campos with 10%.

Campos came from a traditional political family in Pernambuco state. His late grandfather, Miguel Arraes, governed the state three times, the first occasion from 1962 to his forced resignation with the military coup in 1964.

Rousseff and Neves have suspended campaign commitments for three days. Rousseff had been scheduled to be interviewed late Wednesday by Jornal Nacional, the most popular newscast in Brazilian TV, where Campos answered tough questions on Tuesday and Aecio Neves was grilled on Monday.

Special correspondents Figueiro reported from Sao Paulo and Kraul from Bogota, Colombia.

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