Leftist Brazilian presidential candidate Eduardo Campos was killed this morning in the southeastern port city of Santos. His death sent shockwaves through the country and the Brazilian political establishment and has cast even more uncertainty on the outcome of the October presidential election.
Campos’ small private jet went down in a residential area of the city, according to local officials. The crash reportedly occurred after the pilot aborted a landing due to bad weather and tried to change course. Authorities have recovered the plane’s black box from the crash site.
Campos, 49, the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) candidate, was third in recent polls, with 9 percent of the vote.
All seven people on the plane were killed. Others aboard included the pilot, co-pilot, PSB politician Pedro Valadares, photographer Alexandre Severo, a reporter and a campaign aide. Campos’ running mate, Marina Silva, was originally scheduled to be on the plane as well, but was not aboard.
The PSB will have 10 days to select a new candidate for the October 5 presidential elections. Many political analysts expect the party to choose the popular Silva, who won 19 percent of the vote in the 2010 elections.
President Dilma Rousseff, who will be running for reelection in October, and challenger Aécio Neves both cancelled campaign events for the next few days. Rousseff has declared three days of official mourning for Campos, and some flags throughout Brazil are already flying at half-staff.
“The whole of Brazil is in mourning. Today we lost a great Brazilian,” said a message posted on Rousseff’s official Twitter account.
Campos leaves his wife and five children, the youngest less than a year old.
We will continue to update as new information comes in.