Colombian Officials Say Crashed Plane Ran Out of Fuel

  • Dec 24 2016

Who may ultimately be liable for the deadly Columbian airplane crash that killed at least 75 people?

Families, friends and soccer fans across the world were rocked by the news of the plane crash just outside of Medellín that killed 71 of the 77 passengers, including most of the underdog Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense. The investigation is ongoing, revealing new information on a daily basis. As with most airplane accidents, ultimate liability must be decided between a multitude of players.

It has become clear that the airplane, an Avro RJ85 owned by Bolivia-based LaMia airlines, ran out of fuel mid-flight and requested priority landing. According to an Airliners.net fact sheet, the Avro RJ85 has a maximum range of 1,842 miles, or about 4 hours worth flight time.  The distance between the Santa Cruz, Bolivia, and Medellín airports is reportedly 1,839 miles. Most people avoid cutting automobile trips that close and the risks are far less severe.

LaMia Airlines’ Liability

According to flight safety specialists, airplanes are required to carry an extra 30 to 45 minutes worth of fuel to accommodate delays and other factors. Freddy Bonilla, Colombia’s secretary of air security, reported that LaMia airlines has been in violation of the international and local regulations requiring planes to carry reserve fuel between airports. The CEO of LaMia airlines has been arrested, along with several other airline employees.

Others speculate that some fault may lie with the flight crew for failing to timely report the dire situation and formally declare an emergency.

Colombian Government Liability

Liability may not end with the owners of the airplane. Every flight plan must be approved by some sort of governing authority. In this case, Colombia’s civil aviation authority was responsible for review the LaMia airplane’s flight plan. The plan was ultimately approved, despite the fact that the plane was obviously under-fueled for a non-stop flight and the plan included no re-fueling stops.

Brazilian Government Liability

Bolivian air traffic controller, Celia Castedo, has reportedly fled the country after expressing her concerns about the flight to Brazilian authorities. Her warnings were not heeded and Castedo fears that she might be punished for speaking out. Bolivian officials say that Castedo may face negligence charges for allowing the plane off the ground.

A team of 24 investigators is attempting to assess where fault may ultimately lie. The flight recorder has been recovered and will likely be sent to either the U.K. or the U.S. for further analysis.

Injured in an Airplane Accident?

If you or someone you love has been injured in an airplane accident, it is critical to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The law firm of J&Y fights for the rights of airplane crash injury victims in Los Angeles, San Diego, and throughout the State of California. Contact us today for a free consultation at 888.806.6722.

Posted in: Airplane Accident


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