It is December 2018, and a Brazilian pilot, Jeziel Barbosa de Moura, is on a routine flight, steering his single-prop Embraer air-taxi over the vast Amazon rainforest. The pilot has several passengers on board, and nothing indicates imminent danger. But then a cylinder fails – and it triggers a series of events that lead to Barbosa de Moura’s mysterious disappearance.
A critical aircraft malfunction is never welcome, of course. But there are few places more dangerous to have a breakdown than over the Amazon rainforest. With such extensive tree cover, the Amazon offers scant safe places to make an emergency landing. And the rainforest is a wilderness of such daunting vastness that without proper preparation you may never escape – or ever be found.
In fact, the Amazon covers an area of nearly 2.6 million square miles and is the largest expanse of tropical rainforest on Earth. And Barbosa de Moura found himself experiencing technical problems over the state of Pará in northern Brazil. This is close to the border with French Guiana, above a particularly remote tract on the lower Amazon river.