Regulators blame human error on Colombia crash

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Aviation regulators say last month’s plane crash in Colombia that killed 71 people was the result of errors committed by the pilot, charter plane operator and Bolivian aviation authorities. During a press conference on Monday, Dec. 26, 2016, Colombia Secretary for Air Safety Colonel Freddy Bonilla gave an overview of the preliminary report into the November crash.
The crash involved an Avro RJ85, a charter plane operated by LAMIA Bolivia, which crashed in a mountainous area near the Colombian city of Medellin on Nov. 29, killing 71 of the 77 passengers on board, according to the Aircraft Accident Investigation unit of the Colombia Civil Aviation Authority. Colombia aviation officials said the aircraft crashed because the pilot failed to refuel en route and did not report engine failures caused by a lack of fuel until it was too late.

Investigators were unable to identify a technical fault that could have caused or contributed to the accident or an act of sabotage or suicide attempt. The evidence gathered also reveals that the aircraft suffered fuel exhaustion and was virtually destroyed, Aerocivil, Colombia’s civil aviation authority said in a statement released Monday.

“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 organization of the flight plans by the authorities in Bolivia,” said Bonilla.

The investigation is ongoing, with authorities now focusing on aspects such as organization, operational surveillance and supervision, fuel planning, decision making and survival.

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