A plane carrying Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Teori Zavascki, who is overseeing a blockbuster graft investigation into dozens of politicians, crashed into the sea off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state on Thursday, his son said.
According to Reuters, the small plane left Sao Paulo and crashed near the tourist town of Paraty, air force and civil aviation sources said.
A press representative for the Supreme Court had earlier said Zavascki was on the passenger list for the flight, but could not confirm he was onboard.
His son, Francisco Prehn Zavascki, confirmed on his Facebook page that the judge was on the plane, and called for prayers for a miracle that he may have survived.
A judicial source had earlier told Reuters that Zavascki was onboard the aircraft. Rescuers found three dead bodies in the wreckage of the plane crash, according to a spokesman for firefighters. Brazil’s civil aviation authority ANAC said the Hawker Beechcraft twin-prop plane, model C90GT, had a capacity for a maximum of seven passengers.
Zavascki has been reviewing highly anticipated testimony from dozens of executives at engineering group Odebrecht, which is expected to implicate hundreds of politicians in the biggest corruption case in Brazil’s history.
The sprawling investigation, involving at least 6.4 billion reais ($2.0 billion) in bribes for contracts with state-run enterprises, has charged 200 people and convicted more than 80 executives and politicians.