International

Bolivia air official alleges pressure over crash flight

2016-12-09 10:21
Chapecoense Real. (Getty Images)

La Paz - A Bolivian aviation official alleged Thursday that her superiors pressured her to cover up a report she made about the flight plan of a plane that crashed killing 71 people, news media said.

The crash on November 28 wiped out most of the Chapecoense football team from Brazil, which was flying to Colombia to play in a big match.

Aeronautic official Celia Castedo told Bolivian newspaper El Deber she had noted in a report before the flight that the LaMia airline charter plane had only just enough fuel to make it to its destination.

The plane left Santa Cruz in Bolivia and crashed near its destination of Medellin, Colombia, after apparently running out of fuel, flight recordings published by media have indicated.

"I was subjected to harassment and pressure from my superiors... who ordered me to change the content of the report which hours earlier (before the flight) I had presented" to aviation authorities, the newspaper quoted Castedo as saying in a written statement.

"Based on a careful examination (of the flight plan), I had made five observations, one of the most important of which referred to the fuel economy of the flight, which happened to be equal to the flight time."

This meant that the plane was filled with just enough fuel to complete the distance of the flight but had no extra fuel to keep it in the air in the event that its landing got delayed.

Castedo sent her statement from Brazil, where she has fled while Bolivian authorities investigate her and other officials over the crash.

Police on Thursday arrested Gustavo Vargas, son and namesake of the manager of LaMia who has also been detained.

Vargas junior has been identified as an official in Bolivia's civil aviation authority DGAC and as being responsible for authorizing the operations of his father's airline.

Read more on:    chapecoense  |  plane crash  |  soccer
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