At the Tom Jobim International Airport in Rio de Janeiro, where the stricken flight had taken off, relatives gathered to await firm news of the airliner’s fate. But as more time passed, it became increasingly evident that there was less chance of a happy outcome.
One of those desperately after information, Bernardo Souza, said that his brother and sister-in-law were on board, and that his other brother had taken them to the airport. He had no news. Relatives who wanted it, were taken for counselling at the airport in Rio. Among those on board the plane was a senior executive from the German steelmaking giant ThyssenKrupp. Erich Heine was the chairman of the company’s Brazilian unit.