Remember the plane crash in Colombia that killed 71 people last month, including almost all of Brazil’s Chapecoense soccer team?
Colombia’s aviation authorities asserted on Monday that errors by the pilot, airline and Bolivian regulators are to blame for the disaster.
Operated by LaMia, a Bolivia-based charter outfit, the plane crashed near Medellin, on a wooded hillside, because the pilot failed to refuel on the way, the official said. They also opined that the crash happened because there were engine failures caused as a result of the lack of fuel, and the pilot knew but refused to report it until it was too late.
Speaking to journalists, Colombia’s Secretary for Air Safety Colonel Freddy Bonilla said:
“No technical factor was part of the accident, everything involved human error, added to a management factor in the company’s administration and the management and organization of the flight plans by the authorities in Bolivia.”
Bonilla also added that the authorities in Bolivia and the airline had accepted unacceptable conditions for the flight presented in the flight plans.
You Might Also Like: Gyan, Other World Players and Clubs Pay Tribute To Brazilian Team Crash Victims
Apart from the problems arising from lack of fuel, the aircraft was reportedly not certified to fly at the altitude at which it had flown. Bonilla added that the aircraft was also a little over its weight limit by almost 400 kg.
Miguel Quiroga, pilot and co-owner of the airline, was killed in the air crash, and LaMia’s CEO, Gustavo Vargas Gamboa, has been sent to jail on manslaughter and other charges – which he denied – earlier this month, pending trials.
Gustavo Vargas Gamboa’s son, Gustavo Vargas Villegas, is a former official with the Bolivian authorities, and is being held on charges of misuse of influence in authorizing the license of the crashed plane. He also denied the allegation.
Another LaMia co-owner, Marco Antonio Rocha Benegas, who is currently at large with whereabouts unknown, have pending criminal charges against him, as well as air traffic controller Celia Castedo. Castedo fled Bolivia immediately after the news of the crash reached her, and is currently seeking asylum in Brazil.
According to the Bolivian authorities, the crash was an isolated incident and that it is doing all it can to make sure that a new safety system is put in place to prevent such disasters in the future.
On the crashed plane had been the Chapecoense team, travelling to their biggest game in history – the Copa Sudamericana final.
Of the players and staff of the Chapecoense football team, only three survived, as well as two crew members on the plane and a reporter.