Chapecoense plane crash: Bolivia blames pilot and airline

Published
Media caption,
The recording captures the final moments of the plane before it crashed

A Bolivian investigation into a plane crash that killed 71 people last month, including dozens of Brazilian football players, has concluded that the pilot and the airline were directly responsible, an official says.

The plane, operated by Bolivian airline LaMia, plunged into a mountainside near the Colombian city Medellin. Only six people survived.

An audio recording of the pilot suggested the aircraft ran out of fuel.

A Colombian investigation continues.

LaMia's chief executive, Gustavo Vargas Gamboa, and his son, Gustavo Vargas Villegas, a former official with Bolivia's aviation authority, are being held pending trial. They deny wrongdoing.

The pilot, Miguel Quiroga, who was also a co-owner of the airline, died in the crash. In a leaked tape, he can be heard warning of a "total electric failure" and "lack of fuel". However, he did not make a formal distress call.

"The evidence is conclusive, the direct responsibility of this event falls on the pilot and the airline company," Bolivia's Public Works and Services Minister Milton Claros told reporters. He oversees the country's aviation authority.

The aircraft had been transporting Brazil's Chapecoense soccer team to the biggest game in its history, the final of the Copa Sudamericana.

LaMia announced compensations of $165,000 (£134,000) to the victims' families and survivors, Brazilian website G1 reported.