Thousands of people watched and wept Friday as a military vehicle carried to City Hall the body of President Samora M. Machel, who died in a plane crash just inside South Africa.
The Avenida Eduardo Mondlane, a main street, was filled with people as Machel’s coffin was taken from a mortuary to City Hall, where it will lie in state until the funeral on Tuesday.
Former Tanzanian President Julius K. Nyerere wept as he delivered a message of sympathy from the headquarters of the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique, this country’s ruling party.
Members of the government, relatives and friends of the president gathered at the mortuary to pay their respects. Machel’s widow, Graca, 41, who is minister of education, embraced the plain, wooden coffin, the national Mozambican News Agency reported.
Then party members, military officers and relatives carried the coffin to the military vehicle.
The cortege took a half-hour to reach City Hall, where an honor guard and military band waited. The band played as the coffin was taken inside.
Machel, 53, and 33 others, including four of the five Soviet crew members on board, died in the Sunday night crash of the Soviet-built TU-134. Ten people survived. The twin-jet plane went down about 30 miles south of Komatipoort, which is just inside South Africa on the border with Mozambique. Neither South Africa nor Mozambique has commented on the cause.
A 26-member Soviet and Mozambican delegation flew from Maputo to Komatipoort on Friday to join a South African team in investigating the crash.
Many of South Africa’s foes have accused it of involvement in the crash. Independent aviation analysts in South Africa have suggested that pilot error and bad weather probably combined to bring down the plane.