The General Directorate of Civil Aviation of Bolivia suspended the operating license of the airline LAMIA, after the horrific crash on Monday, November 28 on the outskirts of Medellin, Colombia, which killed 71 people and seriously injured six others.
The accident killed most players, coaches, and managers of the Brazilian soccer club Chapecoence, as well as 21 journalists who were going to cover the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final in which the team was facing Atletico Nacional of Medellín.
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In a press release issued on December 1st, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation of Bolivia (DGAC) announced the “immediate” suspension of the Operator’s Certificate of Operation and Operation Permit granted to LAMIA Corporación SRL.
For its part, the Ministry of Public Works of Bolivia decided to change the directors of DGAC and the Administration of Airports so as “not to pollute the investigation.”
According to the Minister Milton Claros, it is too early to determine who and what was responsible for causing the plane crash.
The latest decisions of the Bolivian authorities have emerged, as details regarding the nature of the accident have begun to be uncovered. It was confirmed that the plane ran out of fuel at the time of the accident and Bolivian Airports Administration (Aasana) detected irregularities in the flight plan. They allegedly warned the crew about them, but the crew did not heed the recommendations.
The news site Infobae highlighted that the aircraft’s maximum range was very close to the total length of the flight, which afforded little to no chance to account for unexpected manoeuvres or emergencies.
The Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional said that the Chapecoense authorities are considering legal action against the airline LAMIA after the repatriation of the 19 players, managers and coaches who died in the tragedy, and the subsequent wake at the Arena Chapecó.
“Today we are focusing on the humanitarian issue, the families and the victims. Further down the road we are going to have to stop and think about the restructuring of the team, as well as possible legal action” Chapecoense legal vice president Luiz Antonio Palaoro told a news conference.
“We still have nothing. The Bolivian authorities along with the Brazilian ones are carrying out the investigations. That [legal action] will depend on the official investigation. For now we only have assumptions,” added Palaoro.
LAMIA (Merida International Airline, Company) is a small airline of Venezuelan ownership originating in the state of Mérida, although it currently operates out of Bolivia. It has grown to become the most popular charter airline for sports teams in South America.
Different international media have pointed out that the pilot of the dead plane, Miguel Quiroga, was also the owner of the airline. The company had three planes, two which were being repaired, and one that made the doomed flight.
The Panam Post has recently reported about the airline’s links with both Chavismo and the Venezuelan government, as well as China, in a report published Tuesday.