Pilot Error caused Champecoense Plane Crash
Colombian authorities have said that the Champecoense plane crash that killed all but three futbol players last month outside of Medellin, Colombia was caused by pilot error.
The plane operated by the Bolivian charter company LaMia, crashed miles from the airport because the pilot failed to refuel the plane while in route and did not warn anyone of the engine failure caused by lack of fuel until it was too late.
Colombia’s Secretary for Air Safety, Colonel Freddy Bonilla told journalists at a news conference, “No technical factor was part of the accident, everything involved human error, added to a management factor in the companies administration and the management and organization of the flight plans by the authorities in Bolivia.”
Aviation authorities in Bolivia and the airline, as concluded by Bonilla, “accepted conditions for the flight presented in the flight plan that were unacceptable.” In addition to a lack of fuel, the plane was over its weight limit by 881 pounds and was not certified to fly at that altitude.
These conclusions presented match the assertions by Bolivian authorities made last week saying LaMia and its pilot were directly responsible for the accident. Miguel Quiroga, co-owner of the airline, was also killed in the crash.
Gustavo Vargas Gamboa, LaMia’s chief executive is in jail pending his trial on manslaughter charges. His son, Gustavo Vargas Villegas, who was a former official with the Bolivian Aviation Authority is held on charges of using his influence to authorize the license of the plane that crashed. Both have claimed their innocence.
Authorities are searching for LaMia co-owner Marco Antonio Rocha Benegas and air traffic controller Celia Castedo who fled Bolivia after the crash. Criminal charges are pending to both individuals who are looking for asylum in Brazil.
Although the crash that snatched the dreams away from the Champecoense team of reaching its first Copa Sudamerica final was an isolated incident, The Bolivian government will speed the process in creating and implementing a new safety system for its aircrafts. Investigators from Colombia will have the final say on what caused the crash.