SAO PAULO – Famed journalist and television news anchor Ricardo Boechat was one of the victims of a helicopter crash on Monday, TV Bandeirantes, the network where he worked, reported.
The aircraft carrying Boechat hit a truck on a busy Sao Paulo highway and the journalist was killed together with the pilot.
“This is a very sad moment for Brazilian journalism. He was Brazil’s finest journalist for his bravery, for his way of fighting corruption and combating injustice, a model reporter in the history of Brazilian journalism,” his fellow newsman Jose Luis Datena said, as he tearfully announced the news of the journalist’s death.
Boechat was on his way back from giving a speech to pharmaceutical executives in Campinas, a city of roughly 1 million people in Sao Paulo state, to Bandeirantes headquarters in Sao Paulo when the helicopter crashed.
The pilot and Boechat, who was traveling as the copilot, were burned to death in the accident, while the truckdriver was injured when the aircraft practically destroyed the cabin.
Part of the copter went up in flames, while pieces of the truck were scattered on the highway.
Boechat, 66, was one of the most esteemed journalists in Brazil and had been honored throughout his career with three Esso Journalism Awards, one of Brazil’s top prizes for excellence in the sector.
The journalist anchored the main newscasts on TV Bandeirantes and the company’s radio network, BandNews FM. He also worked for the newspapers O Globo, O Dia, O Estado de Sao Paulo and the Jornal do Brasil.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro expressed his condolences for Boechat’s death.
“It is with great sorrow that I receive the sad news of the death of journalist Ricardo Boechat, who was in the helicopter that crashed in SP. My sympathy goes out to the family of the professional and colleague whom I always respected, as well as to that of the pilot. May God comfort all of you!” Bolsonaro said on social media.
In an official statement, Bolsonaro noted that Brazil “has lost one of the leading professionals of the Brazilian press.”
“We will miss his outstanding work of informing the public after the more than four decades he exercised his profession with dedication and zeal,” the presidency said in the statement.
Boechat, the son of a Brazilian diplomat, leaves behind a wife and six children.