Shortly after 15:00 on Friday (5), the Fire Department of Caratinga (MG) answered a call. On the other side, a woman reported an aircraft crashing into a waterfall near the city’s airport, located 294 km from Belo Horizonte.
In a standard procedure, the firefighters began to define how the service would be, which is complex because of the gravity and the location where it took place, in the countryside and amidst the stones of a waterfall.
Among the firefighters on the way to this serious occurrence was John Leno, a fan of Marília Mendonça, influenced by his wife, Michelly Dias, who has liked the singer since the beginning of her musical career.
Leno and Michelly would go to the show that night, at 9 pm, at Arena Eventos, inside the Parque de Exposições de Caratinga. Everything was ready for the presentation of the queen of suffering.
The expectations were high – the two attended Mendonça’s first performance in the city, in 2016, and the night had been unforgettable.
“I really liked the person she was, the way the music was, the big voice she had,” says Leno of the show from five years ago.
“I expected a Friday of joy, of celebration with friends”.
Upon being informed about the accident, the firefighter thought he would miss the opportunity to see the singer again. The difficulties of the occurrence, he thought, would prevent him from finishing his work shift in time to go to the Exhibition Park.
Until then, he had not imagined that the artist herself was among the victims of the aircraft crash.
On social networks, when commenting on the presence of a fan at the incident, the Caratinga Fire Department highlighted that the military is always ready “for the mission, regardless of the time of day or night, regardless of their schedules”.
And so Leno went to the service.
On the way to the scene of the accident, he and the other firefighters were informed about the possibility that Mendonça was one of the passengers on the twin-engine plane.
“That already took a toll on the heart,” the soldier told Super Canal, from Caratinga.
The military found the aircraft in relatively good condition and, according to Leno, they believed that the victims had survived and that the job would be to remove them and send them to hospital assistance.
The first task was to secure the site, stabilizing the aircraft and “anchoring” the firefighters, tied to ropes using the rappel technique so as not to be carried away by the current.
According to Leno, the service team, which included military police officers and doctors from Samu, attempted to make verbal contact and check the signs of all victims.
The deaths of the five people on the aircraft were confirmed by one of the doctors. Marília Mendonça was one of them. The singer died at age 26 as one of the most heard voices in the country.
“The shock was very big”, remembers the fireman and fan. “I can’t even express what we feel. But we can’t be shaken”.
Leno lost sleep and appetite over the next few hours. “That day became tragic and unforgettable. She had a meteoric passage, she made history”.
On Friday night, fans occupied the streets of Caratinga and sang songs by Mendonça, in a posthumous tribute. The structure for the singer’s show – a stage and tents that the artist would use as a dressing room – was dismantled on Monday (8), amidst mourning for her death.
In addition to the singer, uncle and advisor Abicieli Silveira Dias Filho, producer Henrique Ribeiro, pilot Geraldo Martins de Medeiros and co-pilot Tarcísio Pessoa Viana died in the accident.
Before falling, the device collided with the wire of a transmission line belonging to Cemig, the Minas Gerais energy company, as informed by the company. The causes of the accident are investigated by Cenipa (Centre for Investigation and Prevention of Aeronautical Accidents).
Witnesses saw the aircraft flying at a lower altitude and speed than normal, heard the crash and accompanied first aid. The Civil Police found a cable wrapped around one of the twin-engine’s propellers.
The death of the singer and the other occupants of the plane was confirmed around 18:00 on Friday. Mendonça left Leo, his only son, from the union with the singer and composer Murilo Huff. She was buried in Goiânia on Saturday (6), after a wake that gathered a crowd.
Léo, Mendonça’s son, will have custody shared between his father, Murilo Huff, and his grandmother, Ruth Moreira, the singer’s mother. The boy turns 2 in December.