Eight armed men carried out a sophisticated heist at Sao Paulo’s main international airport and managed to escape with some 750kg of precious metals, airport authorities have said.

GRU Airport, which holds the Guarulhos operation concession, said the thieves hauled away gold destined for Zurich and New York by using two cars that looked like police patrol vehicles.

They also dressed as officers, covered their faces and carried long weapons before making their getaway, according to security camera footage shown on Globo TV.

Brazil Gold Heist
Police inspect the vehicles that were left by suspects involved in the heist (Paulo Lopes/AP)

The television outlet said the vehicles were later abandoned in Jardim Pantanal, a neighbourhood located 12 miles from the airport.

The operator said there were no shootings or injuries during the assault.

But a police officer said an airport official and eight members of his extended family, including four minors, had been kidnapped for 12 hours.

They were expected to give evidence in the next few hours, he added.

Sao Paulo police said they had reinforced surveillance around the area and were searching for the stolen cargo.

GRU Airport said flights continue to operate normally.