Chapecoense crash: ‘Human error’ led to Colombian plane crash that killed 71

Colombian aviation authorities have just released a report stating that errors by the pilot, airline, and the Bolivian regulators’ negligence and malpractice was the sole reason behind the plane crash in Colombia that killed 71 people last month, which also included most of Brazil’s Chapecoense soccer team.

Key points of the report

  • Pilot did not report engine failure until it was too late
  • The pilot did not refuel the plane en route as required
  • Airline’s chief executive remains in custody

The plane, which was under the Bolivia-based charter company LaMia, met its untimely demise on a wooded hillside near Medellin because the pilot did not refuel the plane and was hesitant in reporting engine failures which were caused by the lack of fuel until it was too late, officials said.

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 organisation of the flight plans by the authorities in Bolivia.”

Mr. Bonilla added,

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

The report also found that the plane was over its weight limit by almost 400 kilograms. It was also not certified to fly at the altitude from where the demise began.

The preliminary conclusions of the investigation back the claims by Bolivian authorities last week that the airline company and the pilot were to be blamed directly for the accident.

This investigation was prompted after the aviation officials confirmed that plane had no fuel on impact, along with leaked recording of the final minutes before the crash clearly showing pilot Miguel Quiroga reporting “no fuel” before the crash.

Quiroga, who was a co-owner of the airline, was also killed in the tragedy, along with the Chapecoense team who were traveling to the biggest game in their club’s history, the final of the Copa Sudamericana.

All but three of the players and staff on board were killed. Two crew members also reportedly survived the crash.

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