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colombia plane crash


The head of LaMia airline, which was involved in a plane crash last week that killed 71 people, including most of the Brazil’s soccer team Chapecoense, was arrested in Bolivia.

Gustavo Vargas, a retired air force general, has been arrested as part of an investigation into the crash.

The plane, operated by the tiny LaMia airline, was taking Chapecoense team to Colombia when it ran out of fuel.

Bolivian official Celia Castedo says she warned the pilot of the problem before departure.

She has now sought asylum in Brazil, saying she suffered threats and abuse.chapecoense-plane-crash

Chapecoense were travelling to the city of Medellin to play the first leg of the Sudamericana Cup final against Atletico Nacional.

The British-made Avro RJ85 aircraft ran out of fuel as it approached the airport in Medellin on November 28.

In a leaked tape, pilot Miguel Quiroga can be heard warning of a “total electric failure” and “lack of fuel”.

Celia Castedo says she warned Miguel Quiroga before departure that the long flight between southern Bolivia and Medellin was at the limit of the plane’s maximum range.

She has now sought asylum in Brazil, saying she is being persecuted.

Her asylum process could take a year to be processed, the authorities in Brazil said.

Bolivian Government Minister Carlos Romero urged the Brazilian authorities to turn her back.

“What she has done is very serious,” Carlos Romero said.

“It’s a way of escaping the judicial system.”

Six people survived the crash. One of them, crew member Erwin Tumuri, said an initial stop for refueling in the northern Bolivian city of Cobija had been dropped by the pilot.

There was no warning to the crew or the passengers that the plane was facing electrical or fuel problems, Erwin Tumuri told Brazil’s Globo TV.

LaMia was originally registered in Venezuela, before moving its headquarters to Bolivia. It only had three planes, but only two of them were operational.

Chapecoense club, from the southern Brazilian city of Chapeco, was only founded in 1973 and had never reached a final of an international tournament.

A day after the tragedy, Atletico Nacional said it wanted to forfeit the title.

On December 5, the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) declared Chapecoense officially champions of the Sudamericana Cup, the second most prestigious continental competition.

For its gesture, Atletico Nacional has been granted CONMEBOL’s special centenary fair play award.


According to new reports, the pilot of a charter plane that crashed in Colombia on November 28 had been warned before taking off from an airport in Bolivia that he might not have enough fuel.

Bolivia’s Deber newspaper said that an airport official raised the concern after checking the plane’s flight plan.

Seventy-one people died in the plane crash, including members of Brazil’s Chapecoense soccer team. Six people survived.

Bodies of the victims are due to be repatriated to Brazil.

Colombian authorities have said evidence is growing that the British-made BAE 146 Avro RJ85 aircraft ran out of fuel as it tried to land at Medellin airport. Experts say it was flying at, or very near, its maximum range.

In a leaked tape, pilot Miguel Quiroga can be heard warning of a “total electric failure” and “lack of fuel”.chapecoense-plane-crash

On December 1, Bolivia’s aviation authority suspended the operating license of charter airline LaMia, which was part-owned by Miguel Quiroga, and two other aviation officials.

In the report carried in Deber, the Bolivian airport authority official at Santa Cruz airport said she raised concerns that the plane’s fuel load was only enough for the exact flight time.

The newspaper said she described how the airline’s clerk, who died in the crash, had told her the pilot was confident he had enough fuel. Despite her concerns, the flight plan was passed on to Bolivian air control.

Bolivian officials have not yet commented on the report.

An earlier report carried by Brazil’s O Globo newspaper suggested that because of a delayed departure, a refueling stop in Cobija – on the border between Brazil and Bolivia – was abandoned because the airport did not operate at night.

The pilot had the option to refuel in Bogota, it said, but headed straight to Medellin.

LaMia CEO Gustavo Vargas said on November 30 that the plane should have had enough fuel for about four and a half hours and any decision to refuel was at the pilot’s discretion.

In another development, the Colombian air traffic controller who received the distress call said she had received death threats following the crash.

“I did all that was humanly possible and technically necessary to preserve the lives of the passengers, but unfortunately my efforts weren’t enough,” Yaneth Molina wrote in a letter to her colleagues that was later released to the media.

On the approach to Medellin, the pilot had initially sought permission to land urgently but another plane was given priority because it had suffered a fuel leak. The LaMia flight was told to circle for seven minutes.

Meanwhile, coffins of the Brazilian victims are due to be flown out of Medellin on December 1.

Chapecoense had been due to play a soccer cup final against Atletico Nacional in Medellin.

In the squad’s home town of Chapeco, in southern Brazil, temporary structures have been set up in the football stadium for an open-air wake on December 3.

According to Colombian officials, the plane’s “black boxes”, which record flight details, will be sent to the UK to be opened by investigators.

The plane carrying Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense, which crashed in Colombia killing most of the passengers, had run out of fuel, according to a leaked audio recording.

A pilot can be heard repeatedly requesting permission to land due to an electric failure and lack of fuel.

Just six of the 77 people on board the plane survived.

The team, Chapecoense, had been due to play a cup final on November 30. Fans instead have been gathering at their stadium for a memorial event.

The leaked conversations between the flight crew and a Colombian air traffic controller give a glimpse of the frantic, final moments of the doomed plane.

The pilot and can be heard warning of a “total electric failure” and “lack of fuel”.

Image source Getty Images

Image source Getty Images

Just before the tape ends, the pilot says he is flying at an altitude of 9,000ft (2,743m). The plane slammed into a mountainside near the Colombian city of Medellin on November 28.

That there was no explosion when the plane came down also points to lack of fuel, with one Colombian military source telling the AFP agency its absence was “suspicious”.

It is not known why the plane was out of fuel: whether it was due to a leak or because there was not enough on board.

Investigators have yet to announce any single cause for the crash and a full analysis is expected to take months.

Chapecoense team was flying to Medellin for what would have been the biggest match in their history – the final of regional tournament the Copa Sudamericana.

The team lost 19 players in the crash. Twenty journalists were also killed.

Among the survivors, Chapecoense said that two players remained in a critical but stable condition, while the club’s goalkeeper had had one leg amputated and might still lose his other foot.

An injured journalist also remained in critical condition, the club said.

Another survivor, flight technician Erwin Tumiri, said he was still alive because he followed safety instructions.

“Many stood up and started shouting,” he said.

“I put the suitcases between my legs and assumed the brace position.”

Brazil declared three days of official mourning and thousands of fans in the city of Chapeco held a vigil in their home stadium to mark their loss.

Chapecoense directors say they expect up to 100,000 to attend collective funerals once all the bodies have been identified, most likely on December 2 or December 3.

A chartered plane carrying 81 people, including top Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense, has crashed on its approach to Medellin, Colombia, officials say.

Reports say there are 25 dead and six survivors.

The chartered aircraft, flying from Bolivia, was carrying members of the Chapecoense soccer team, airport officials said.

The team was due to play in the final of the Copa Sudamericana, against Colombian team Atletico Nacional.

The first leg of the final of the cup, South America’s second most important club competition, was scheduled for November 30, but has now been suspended.

Image source Getty Images

Image source Getty Images

The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) said it was suspending “all activities”.

Chapecoense issued a brief statement saying: “May God be with our athletes, officials, journalists and other guests travelling with our delegation.”

It said it would refrain from any further statements until it had assessed the extent of the crash.

Reports suggest that at least two members of the team – Alan Ruschel and Danilo – may have survived.

The sports network Telemundo Deportes tweeted that Alan Ruschel was in shock but conscious and talking, and asked to keep his wedding ring and to see his family.

The mayor of the nearby town of La Ceja confirmed that a 25-year-old player was among the survivors.

He said that 25 people were known to have died.

The team, from the southern city of Chapeco, was promoted to Brazil’s first division in 2014 and reached the final last week after a victory against Argentina’s San Lorenzo.

Reports say the British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane, operated by Bolivian charter airline Lamia and carrying 72 passengers and nine crew, crashed in Cerro Gordo in the municipality of La Union shortly before midnight local time.

According to an airport press release, it was reporting an electrical fault to the control tower.

Medellin’s Mayor Federico Gutierrez described it as “a tragedy of huge proportions”.

The Jose Maria Cordova de Rionegro airport, which serves Medellin, posted on its Twitter account: “Confirmed, the aircraft licence number CP2933 was carrying the team @ChapecoenseReal. Apparently there are survivors.”

The airport later said in a statement that “all possible aid was being mobilized because six survivors are being reported”.

Poor weather has meant that the crash site, in a mountainous area, is only accessible by land.

However, there was no fire on impact, which has given rescuers hope that more survivors may be found.

CONMEBOL said in a statement that its president, Alejandro Dominguez, was on his way to Medellin.


Two pilots from Tom Cruise’s new film crew have been killed in a plane crash that left a third man severely injured on September 11.

American Alan Purwin and South American Carlos Berl died when their small plane crashed in the Colombian Andes.

Another American, Jimmy Lee Garland, survived Friday’s accident.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to the crew members and their families at this difficult time,” said Universal Pictures, distributor of Doug Liman’s film Mena.

Tom Cruise will appear in the movie as an American drug runner recruited by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) in the 1980s to help it capture cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar.Tom Cruise pilots killed in plane crash

Jimmy Lee Garland had been working as a flying double for Tom Cruise, whose spokesperson has yet to comment on the crash.

In a statement on its website, Alan Purwin’s company Helinet Technologies remembered him as “a great man, a world-renowned aviator and a brilliant entrepreneur”.

“There are no words that can express our heartache for we have lost one of the world’s greatest helicopter pilots,” wrote its CEO, Steve Gatena.

It is not known what caused the crash, though bad weather has been cited as a possible factor.

Tom Cruise previously worked with Doug Liman on his 2014 blockbuster Edge of Tomorrow and is set to work with him again on sci-fi movie Luna Park, according to reports.