Latin Grammy Winner Dies in King Air Crash

 - November 8, 2021, 12:01 PM

A chartered Beechcraft King Air 90 carrying 26-year-old Latin Grammy winner Marília Mendonça crashed Friday afternoon in Minas Gerais, Brazil, after it struck high-tension powerlines 2.6 miles from the intended destination—Caratinga Airport (SNCT)—and pancaked into a waterfall. The Brazilian singer, her producer, her uncle, and both pilots died in the accident.

Registered as PT-ONJ, the King Air had been chartered from PEC Taxi Aereo of Goiânia, Goiás, where the 500-mile flight originated. All paperwork appeared to be in order, with the aircraft carrying a green “air taxi operation permitted” banner in registration databases—part of civil aviation authorities’ campaign against illegal charters.

Although directly in line with the runway, the powerline hit by the turboprop twin lacks orange marker balls. Preliminary reports highlighted two notams warning of a single unrelated antenna constructed within the airport’s primary protection zone.

SNCT, which has a 3,543-foot runway, allows only visual operations since there are no published approach procedures. The airport requires either a steeper approach or circling from the west due to terrain. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, according to weather reports.

The King Air carried neither data nor voice recorders, according to the Rio de Janeiro SERIPA office that is responsible for the investigation.