Brazilian Journalist Killed in Helicopter Crash

Journalist Ricardo Boechat speaks at an event in May 2010. (Wikimedia Commons)

Journalist Ricardo Boechat speaks at an event in May 2010. (Wikimedia Commons)

Famous Brazilian journalist Ricardo Boechat, age 66, died on February 11 after the helicopter transporting him from Campinas to São Paulo fell onto a highway and crashed against a truck. The helicopter’s pilot was also killed in the crash.

Boechat was in Campinas for a lecture on the pharmaceutical industry. He was supposed to be back in São Paulo at 12:00 PM to report to Band News, the broadcasting agency where he was an anchor. According to investigators, the helicopter lost control and attempted an emergency landing on the highway, but the truck had no time to break and collided with the machine.

“Out of nowhere, a thing fell out of the sky, right over my head,” said João Adroaldo Tomackeves, the truck driver. He only knew who the victims were after he left the scene and lamented Boechat’s death: “I was a fan of his.”

Leilane Santos, a 36-year-old street vendor who saw the crash, pulled Tomackeves out of the wreckage; he sustained minimal injuries and was already released from the hospital. There were no other victims in the accident.

Ricardo Boechat was a journalist for almost 50 years, and during that time, he reported for Brazil’s most famous broadcasters and print newspapers. He was known for his professionalism and quality of work, and was a three-time recipient of the Esso Prize, Brazil’s most prestigious journalism award. His impartiality was also notable, and Brazilian media mourned the loss of “a fair, brave individual with excellent character.”

President Jair Bolsonaro also issued a statement after his death, saying that “the country has lost one of the main professionals of the Brazilian press.” Other politicians, journalists, and Brazilian public figures likewise expressed their condolences to Boechat’s family; he leaves behind a wife and six children.