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Chapecoense Airplane Crash: “No technical-factor was part of the accident, everything involved human-error,” Authorities Say

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A general view of the airplane crash in the Colombian area of Antioquia where a British-Aerospace BAE- Avro with players of the Brazilian team ‘Chapecoense’ crashed, on November 29, 2016 in La Union, Colombia. Players of the Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense were flying to Medellin to play next November 30 the final first leg match against Atletico Nacional, as part of the Copa Sudamericana.

Errors by the pilot, airline, and Bolivian regulators are to blame for a plane crash in Colombia that killed 71 people last month, including most of Brazil’s Chapecoense soccer team, Colombia aviation authorities said.

The plane, operated by Bolivia-based charter company LaMia, crashed on a wooded hillside near Medellin because the pilot failed to refuel en route and did not report engine failures caused by the lack of fuel until it was too late, officials 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,” Colombia’s Secretary for Air-Safety-Colonel Freddy Bonilla told journalists.

Aviation authorities in Bolivia and the airline “accepted conditions for the flight presented in the flight plan that were unacceptable,” Bonilla added.

Besides a lack of fuel, the plane was over its weight limit by nearly 400 kilograms (881 lbs) and was not certified to fly at the altitude at which the journey took place, Bonilla said.

The preliminary conclusions of Colombia’s investigation coincide with assertions by Bolivia authorities last week that LaMia and the plane’s pilot were directly responsible for the accident.

Pilot Miguel Quiroga was also a co-owner of the airline and was killed in the crash.

Gustavo Vargas Gamboa, LaMia’s chief executive, was jailed pending trial earlier this month on manslaughter and other charges, which he has denied.

His son, Gustavo Vargas Villegas, a former official with Bolivia’s aviation authority, is also being held on charges that he misused his influence in authorizing the license of the plane that crashed. He also says he is innocent.

Criminal charges have also been brought against LaMia co-owner Marco Antonio Rocha Benegas, whose whereabouts are unknown, and air traffic controller Celia Castedo, who fled Bolivia after the crash and is seeking asylum in Brazil.

Bolivian authorities have said the crash was an isolated incident, but that the government will accelerate the process of implementing a new safety system.

Colombian investigators have the final word on causes of the crash, Bolivian authorities have said.

Photo Credit: Leon Monsalve/LatinContent/Getty Images

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) was established by the Federal Government of Nigeria in May 1976 to gather and distribute news on Nigeria and cover events of interest to Nigeria at the international level for the benefit of the Nigerian Media and the Public.

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