Pope prays for victims as crash death toll hits 200

Pope Benedict has offered his prayers for the victims of the plane crash in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and his condolences to their relatives and loved ones as the death toll from the disaster reaches 200.

According to a Catholic News Service report, Brazilian officials said yesterday that the number of dead could exceed 200. The plane, which slid off the rain-drenched runway after it landed, carried 176 people, all of whom were presumed dead.

The plane crossed a highway and crashed into an office building and a gas station before bursting into flames. It was not immediately known how many people on the highway, in the building or at the gas station were killed.

A telegram of condolence was sent in the pope's name to Archbishop Odilo Scherer of Sao Paulo by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state.

The cardinal said the pope was saddened by the large number of victims, offered his condolences to those in mourning and promised his prayers for the repose of the souls of the deceased.

"The Holy Father, distressed by the hundreds of victims of the air disaster in Sao Paolo, which he visited not long ago, wishes to give his most heartfelt condolences to all their relatives," the Cardinal said in the telegram.

"He gives assurances of his prayers for the dead and invokes the strength and consolation of God for the injured and for all those affected by this tragedy, granting everyone, as a sign of his spiritual closeness, his consoling apostolic blessing."

Pope offers prayers for victims of Brazilian air crash (CNS, 18/7/07)
Telegram for victims of Brazilian air disaster (Vatican Information Service, 18/7/07)

Sao Paulo (Archdiocese) (Catholic-Hierarchy)

Former Jesuit worker among Indonesia crash victims (CathNews, 9/3/07)

19 Jul 2007