On 11 February 2019, a Bell 206B helicopter crashed while trying to land on the Rodoanel Mário Covas highway, following an unspecified malfunction. Among the victims was journalist Ricardo Boechat. The pilot, Ronaldo Quatrucci, was also killed and one person on the ground was injured. The aircraft crashed around 12:15 pm (UTC−02:00) and the journalist and pilot were pronounced dead shortly after. The helicopter was owned by RQ Serviços Aéreo Especializados Ltda.
The aircraft was a Bell 206B, manufactured in 1975, registered PT-HPG. The pilot, Ronaldo Quatrucci, was one of the owners of the aerial shuttle company operating the aircraft.
Journalist and news anchorRicardo Boechat, from Rede Bandeirantes, was on his way to the head office of the broadcaster in São Paulo after speaking at an event for pharmaceutical company Libbs in Campinas, which is located about 100 km from the head offices. The helicopter crashed near kilometer 8 of the Rodoanel, on the Anhanguera highway, after attempting to make an emergency landing on one of the highway locks, following low-altitude flight and an unspecified malfunction. It collided with a semi truck unable to brake on time, burst into flames, and eventually exploded.
The causes of the accident are not yet known, but preliminary information published by the National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil (Anac) showed that the helicopter had a valid flight certificate until May 2023. However, RQ Serviços Aéreos Especializados Ltda was not authorized to provide air taxi services, only specialized air services such as aerial photography, airborne and aerial transport. Anac has announced that it has opened an investigation on the case. In 2011, RQ had paid a fine of 8,000 BRL (2507.84 USD) for offering panoramic flights without air taxi certification.
CENIPA (Aeronautical Accidents Investigation and Prevention Center) has appointed a team of Seripa 4o (Fourth Regional Service for Research and Prevention of Aeronautical Accidents) to conduct the investigation, which will also have the cooperation of the Technical Scientific Police of São Paulo.
RQ Serviços Aéreos Especializados Ltda., owner of the helicopter, had been contracted by Zum Brazil, an event company that, in turn, rendered services to the pharmaceutical company Libbs, which promoted its annual sales agreement.
The Grupo Bandeirantes de Comunicação issued a note of regret after confirming the death of Boechat. Like all vehicles in the group, the news were dealt with in extreme commotion. The presenter of Brasil Urgente, José Luiz Datena left the journal without saying goodbye completely shaken. In the Jornal da Band, the closure counted on the empty bench and a session of applause and shouts of staff of the editors of the stations of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasília, besides a minute of silence after the display of the tributes. On BandNews FM radio, the broadcasts were suspended for a few minutes due to the emotion of the employees running only the looped vignette.
A group of taxi drivers paid tribute to Boechat with a motorcade and "buzinaço" in the streets of São Paulo. Then, they stopped in front of the headquarters of the Grupo Bandeirantes, applauding the journalist and the group's employees.
TV host José Luiz Datena, Boechat's widow Veruska Seibel, Supreme Court Minister Luiz Fux, Electoral Court President Rosa Weber, TV hosts Luciano Huck and Serginho Groisman, Globo presenter Fátima Bernardes, writer Paulo Coelho, commedian Marcelo Adnet, journalists Vera Magalhães, Miriam Leitão, Aline Midlej, Ricardo Noblat, Rodolfo Schneider, Milton Neves and José Simão, radio broadcaster Milton Jung, priests Fábio de Melo and Marcelo Rossi, singer Daniela Mercury, commentator Walter Casagrande and many other personalities as singers, journalists, politicians, sportists, Brazilian soccer, volleyball and other modalities teams, actors and presenters of many broadcasters published tributes in the social networks.
International press like BBC pointed out the accident in the main page and remembered Boechat as one of the most noble and respected journalists of the country, and that his death is a sad moment for the Brazilian journalism. Portuguese newspaper Correio da Manhã brought Boechat as "star of the brazilian journalism". Spanish newspaper El País highlighted Ricardo Boechat's death.
In the social networks, fans of Silas Malafaia were satisfied with the death of Ricardo Boechat, using their relligion, and Malafaia disapproves the fans' attitude saying that, he could even disagree with the journalist's opinions, but doesn't deny that he had great leadership.
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