Latin America & Caribbean

Chapecoense plane crash: Colombia blames human error

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe recording captures the final moments of the plane before it crashed

The plane crash that killed 71 people in Colombia last month, including dozens of players from Brazil's Chapecoense football team, was caused by human error, an investigation says.

Colombian officials said there was no technical failure and blamed the pilot, the airline and Bolivian regulators.

A recording had already indicated the aircraft had run out of fuel.

The plane, operated by Bolivian company LaMia, plunged into a mountainside near Medellin. Only six people survived.

Preliminary results of the Colombian investigation said the pilot failed to refuel en route and was too late in reporting engine failures caused by the lack of fuel.

Colombia's Secretary for Air Safety, Col Freddy Bonilla, also said that aviation authorities in Bolivia and the airline accepted conditions presented in the flight plan that were "unacceptable".

"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," he told journalists.

The plane was also over its weight limit by nearly 400kg (62 stone) and was not certified to fly at the altitude at which the trip took place, Col Bonilla added.

The conclusion, officials said, came from the plane's flight recorders and other evidence. A Bolivian investigation had already blamed the pilot and the airline for the accident.

LaMia's chief executive, Gustavo Vargas Gamboa, and his son, Gustavo Vargas Villegas, a former official with Bolivia's aviation authority, had already been detained pending trial. They deny any 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".

The aircraft had been transporting Chapecoense to the biggest game in their history, the final of the Copa Sudamericana.

More on this story